COLUMBUS — National Trail’s girls golf team wrapped up a successful season at the Division II state golf tournament with a ninth place finish.
Trail shot a season-best 371 on the first day of the event and followed up with a 381 to finish with a 752. Lima Central Catholic fired a 652 to win the state title. Shelby was the runner-up with a 674.
The 11th annual tournament was held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12-13 at The Ohio State University Gray Course.
Junior Makenna Jones, who was making her third straight appearance at state, shot a two-day total 159 to place 14th. Jones shot a 76 on the first day and followed that up with an 83.
Kyleigh Dull of Kansas Lakota and Jami Morris of Shaker Heights Laurel tied for medalist honors with a 147.
“The experience is something these kids can take with them for the rest of their lives. Just to be here and say we are one of the best 12 teams in the state says something about these kids and how hard they worked this year,” Trail coach Troy Ferguson said. “I think we all had fun. Regardless of what our scores were I think we enjoyed our experience. Like I said, it’s something we can take with us forever. It was a good time for them.
The Blazers were making their first trip to state as a team since 2011.
Jones, despite placing in the top 14, was disappointed in her second round. She is only one of a handfull of Preble County athletes to be a three-time state qualifier.
“What can you say about a kid who is competing for a state title year in and year out the last three years,” Ferguson said. “She puts in a ton of time, a ton of hours and works hard at the game. We look forward to being back here one more year. She’s got to be proud of where she’s at regardless of what the scores are. She’s got to be proud of herself for getting here.”
Freshman Katelyn Hines shot her season best in the first round and finished with a 196 to finish tied for 50th.
“She really started playing well for us down the stretch when it really mattered. Phenomenal turn from where she’s been. She kind of struggled halfway through the year and just really, the last couple of weeks, month or so, has been playing really well,” Ferguson said. “It happened for us at a good time because we needed her scored to get here.”
Junior Makena Laird, who has only played golf for two seasons, fired a 209 and placed in a tie for 62nd.
“(She) got a little late start to the season. The same thing, we needed her scores just to get here. To get out the district we needed her tiebreaker score to take second place. She’s a kid that’s not a big golf fan, but she comes out to help the team,” Ferguson said.
Sophomore Caitlin Gilland shot a 204 and tied for 59th.
“She’s like our old man. She comes out here and she’s going to hit the ball straight nine times out of ten and its’ going to go 120 yards. She’s consistent about it and we can count on her to be right around that 100 score. It’s nice to have that. You don’t have to worry if she is going to have a bad round. She doesn’t ever put herself in trouble. There’s a lot to be said about that. Can’t say enough about her. She works hard and enjoys the game,” Ferguson said.
Savanna Abner, the only senior on the team, played the 36-hole event in 194 and tied for 46th.
“She’s not a big golf fan, but she does it to help the team. She’s probably her own worst enemy sometimes. She played well for us. Obviously, we’ll miss her next year,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said he proud of his squad.
“This is just a great group of kids. I’ve enjoyed working with them. They put in the time and they deserve to be here,” he said. “I’m proud of them and I think they need to be proud of themselves and keep building for next year.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH