MASSILLON — Medina County is sending two seniors to the Division I state girls golf tournament.
Playing in the same group, Wadsworth’s Secilia Ho and Cloverleaf’s Averi Hanna pushed each other throughout the Legends of Massillon District on Tuesday to reach the last stop of their high school careers, Ohio State University’s Gray Course, next week.
“Coming in I told myself my biggest goal was to just have fun because it’s senior year, and it was awesome because I got to play with my three best golf friends,” Ho said of playing with Hanna, Chardon’s Laine Hursh and Rocky River’s Iris Shin.
Ho shot a 3-over-par 75 that tied fellow first-time state qualifier Paighton Masterson from Avon Lake for second place, one shot behind North Canton Hoover’s Madison Ardelean. Hanna finished one stroke behind Ho.
Massillon Jackson won with a 317. GlenOak (328), Hoover (338) and Poland (340) also advanced, while Medina (355) was ninth.
Hanna, who missed qualifying by one shot last fall, recovered from being 3 over on her front nine on the East Course by shooting 1 over on the South Course, including parring the last two holes after a bogey. Hanna credited her turnaround, at least in part, to a wardrobe change by switching into her lucky sushi roll socks.
“I’m just really excited to have made it this year,” she said. “I knew when I finished that it was going to be really close, so it was going to be a playoff or in by the last spot. Luckily, I finished strong.”
Hanna started the back nine with birdies on Nos. 11 and 12. She just missed an eagle on the par-4 11th, burning the edge of the cup on a 56-degree wedge from about 90 yards. On the 12th hole, a 468-yard par 5, Hanna hit two hybrids before a 75-yard wedge to within three feet.
“On No. 11, she almost made it, put it an inch or two away, and you could just see the difference, better balance in the swing,” Colts coach Adam Michel said. “The next hole, she stuck it to three feet, and the hole after she stuck it to five feet. It was great to see her get a little bit of a rhythm out there.”
For Ho, a fast start led to a 1-under 35 while playing the front nine on the East Course. She drove the ball well, setting up short approach shots and wedges. On the par-5 first hole, Ho hit a driver and 3-wood to set up a short chip that she knocked close to set up a birdie. She also birdied the other par 5 on the East Course, No. 4.
“She was focused today, and I’m really proud of her, because she deserved to get down there once,” Grizzlies coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. said. “I’ve coached multiple sports for a long time, and it’d be hard to find anybody that’s worked harder at their sport than what she’s done.”
The Bees failed to advance despite taking 24 strokes off their sectional score. Juniors Erin Frey (83) and Maddie Debnar (84) paced Medina, which also got 94s from sophomore Cleo Meldrum and senior Olivia Ferris.
“Our goal was to play better than we did at sectionals, and we did. I’m very proud of them for that,” coach Mickey McGrath said. “The season as a whole was kind of up and down. We had three girls that had never played sectionals or districts, so for them to shoot under 100 in these conditions was really good.”
ResultsLegends of Massillon Division I District
at par-72 Legends of Massillon G.C. SE
Standings (top 4 advance to state tournament): 1. Massillon Jackson 317, 2. GlenOak 328, 3. Hoover 338, 4. Poland Seminary 340, 5. Solon 340, 6. Kent Roosevelt 346, 7. Avon Lake 347, 8. Walsh Jesuit 349, 9. Medina 355, 10. Magnificat 361, 11. Hudson 362, 12. Copley 367, 13. Canfield 376, 14. Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin 387, 15. Westlake 392, 16. Chagrin Falls 401, 17. North Royalton 401.
Individual qualifiers: Secilia Ho (Wadsworth) 75, Paighton Masterson (AL) 75, Averi Hanna (Cloverleaf) 76, Jenn David (Hu) 76.
Medina (355): Erin Frey 83, Maddie Debnar 84, Cleo Meldrum 94, Olivia Ferris 99, Aubrey Cavey 99.