By SCOTT COTTOS
ARLINGTON — As a young golfer, Kyleigh Dull hoped to follow in the footsteps of her older sister, Makayla.
Kyleigh, a Lakota freshman, took that first step on Monday when she shot a 75 to finish with the second-lowest individual score in the Division II district tournament at Sycamore Springs Golf Course and punch her ticket to state.
The top four teams and the lowest scoring four individuals not advancing with a team gained spots in the state tourney, scheduled for Oct. 13 and 14 at Ohio State’s Gray Course in Columbus.
Dull’s 75 trailed only Gibsonburg freshman Sydney Leyerle’s even-par 72. Jill Schmitmeyer of St. Marys Memorial was next with a 76 that included a hole-in-one, and Ottawa Hills’ Caroline Dayton was fourth with a 78.
Lima Central Catholic and Shelby tied for the lowest team score at 338, with LCC getting the first place nod on the basis of a lower-scoring fifth player. St. Henry was third at 362, followed by Edison at 365.
Van Buren was ninth at 411.
Makayla Dull, now a junior playing at the University of Akron, set some high standards for Kyleigh while playing at Lakota.
Makayla qualified for state and gained all-Ohio recognition in all four years of high school and won the individual title in 2014.
After traversing the back nine at a less-than-desirable 4-over par, Kyleigh Dull rallied to cover the front nine in 1 under.
“I’m pretty excited that I’m going to state because I know my sister did. I look up to her a lot and I’m trying to beat her records and everything,” Dull said. “On the first nine I played, I shot 40 and if I didn’t come back like I did, I probably wouldn’t be going to state. I had three birdies on the front side, and if I didn’t have that I don’t think I’d be going. I came back pretty well, so I’m excited.”
Dull birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 7 and narrowly missed out on making birdie on Nos. 6 and 8. She three-putted only once, on No. 9 to finish her round.
Lakota coach Ty Ray said he suspected Dull would rally after making the turn, just as she did while shooting a 79 in last week’s sectional at Fostoria Country Club.
“As goofy as it sounds, she was 4-over on the front but she only hit two bad shots,” he said. “The two bad shots cost her three strokes; otherwise, she was right on where she should be.
“The conversations we kept having were she was missing putts on that first nine and I kept telling her the law of averages is going to come back to us. And it did because she was able to make three of those birdie putts on our second nine.”
Dull said bothersome circumstances such as what she encountered on the back nine used to crush her, but she’s found the fortitude to come back.
“I didn’t really have pressure,” she said. “I just knew I could do it. I believed in myself and I could get out to state. I knew that I could. I have the ability to do that.”
Olivia Sexton led Van Buren’s team effort with a 90, followed by Taylor Adams at 91.
Black Knights coach Rhonda Nye said she was pleased with her players’ scores “for the most part.”
“I think we were capable of shooting a little lower,” she said. “There were quite a few more strokes than at the sectional, but there always are.
“A lot of these teams, their scores are 15 strokes higher than at the sectional because there’s that pressure that builds and you put yourself through.”
St. Marys Memorial’s Schmitmeyer, a senior, made her first career hole-in-one on the 100-yard eighth hole using a pitching wedge.
1, Lima Central Catholic 338. 2, Shelby 338. 3, St. Henry 362. 4, Edison 365. 5, Wayne Trace 367. 6, Sandusky Perkins 382. 7, Tinora 406. 8, Otsego 411. 9, Van Buren 411 (Olivia Sexton 90, Taylor Adams 91, Maria Trusty 101, Cheyenne Potteiger 129). 10, Hicksville 412. 11, North Baltimore 417 (Valerie Buchanan 101, Jordan Bucher 103, Hanna Rose 106, Lilly Westgate 107). 12, Oak Harbor 424.
INDIVIDUAL state qualifiers
1, Sydney Leyerle, Gibsonburg, 72. 2, Kyleigh Dull, Lakota, 75. 3, Jill Schmitmeyer, St. Marys Memorial, 76. 4, Caroline Dayton, Ottawa Hills, 78.