By SCOTT COTTOS
ARLINGTON — As any weekend duffer might, Makayla Dull hit a few 40-yard ground balls during her round Monday at Sycamore Springs Golf Course.
“I topped it, like, three times,” she said. “It was really bad.”
Fortunately for Dull, she’s more skilled than most weekend duffers. The Lakota senior was able to pick up the pieces from those bad shots — and a few others, for that matter — and finish with a round of 77, good for the No. 2 individual spot in the Division II district golf tournament and an opportunity to defend her state championship.
The top three teams and the top three individuals not qualifying with a team moved from the district to the state tournament, scheduled for Oct. 10 and 11 at Ohio State’s Gray Course in Columbus.
While Huron won the team championship with 354 strokes and Lexington was second at 364, Edison edged Van Buren 370-373 when the Chargers’ No. 5 player, Zoey Grant, came through in the clutch.
Huron junior Kylie Gruelich was medalist with a 2-over-par 74. And while Dull wasn’t thrilled with her round, she’ll gladly take her third consecutive trip to the state tournament.
“I’m really happy about that,” she said. “Even though it’s not how I wanted to go there, with second place, it’s still a really good feeling to go back. I know I’m going to be there and I’m excited.”
Also qualifying for state individually were Shelby’s Alexis Jones with a 78 and North Baltimore’s Rachel Peters with an 80.
Dull won last year’s district title with a 72. She wasn’t far off that pace Monday when she carded a 37 on the front nine.
“The back is the harder side,” Dull said. “It’s more narrow and it was like I was making the same mistakes as on the front, but I was able to get away with the mistakes on the front because of how open it is.”
Despite being ill in the last few days, Dull went into the day believing a strong round may be in store for her.
“My coach (Chad Garberich) was like, ‘It’s possible for you to come out here and shoot 64,'” she said. “We were thinking way under (par) today. On this course, it’s very possible. I don’t want to make being sick an excuse. There’s no excuse for how I did today. That was just bad.”
“Not a whole lot went right,” he said. “It was just one of those days where she just didn’t have it. She missed a few short putts at the beginning and she missed a few short putts at the end and her irons just weren’t very crisp today. You know, it’s just one of those days you’ll have. Luckily for her, she’s good enough that when she has a bad day, it’s still good enough to do what needs to get done. … It’s a fact of she was 1-under through eight, even through 11 and she shoots 77. It’s just a matter of trying to get everything crisp between now and next Friday.”
Van Buren coach Rhonda Nye and her players were sitting in third place knowing that Edison’s Grant, after shooting a 48 on the back nine to start her round, had the potential to spoil the Black Knights’ hopes. And Grant did just that with her 46 on the front nine.
“I’m proud that they played as well as they played,” Nye said. “But it is kind of tough to lose by just a few strokes because everybody knows they could have made that difference individually and together.”
Erin Neall, the team’s lone senior, led the Black Knights with an 88. Zoie Nieto was next with a 91, followed by Carlee Schmelzer with a 93 and Ashley Franklin with a 91. Morgan Jackson had a 104.
“I think the girls played pretty close to what their averages are,” Nye said. “They kind of stayed in their element and tried to work it together as a team.”
Old Fort junior Emily Bogner was also left hoping to make it to state next year.
“I wasn’t too happy because I came here a few days ago and shot 82 and then I turned around and shot a 91 today,” she said. “Today, the nerves really got to me and some shots really got me down.”
1, Huron 354. 2, Lexington 364. 3, Edison 370. 4, Van Buren 373. 5, North Baltimore 377. 6, Lima Central Catholic 385. 7, Lincolnview 388. 8, Port Clinton 393. 9, Cardinal Stritch 407. 10, Tinora 413. 11, Wayne Trace 423. 12, Hicksville 456.
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