MASSILLON — Alyssa Drehs may need to return to the Legends of Massillon Golf Club this morning. The Medina senior will need the heart she left on the course for the Division I state tournament next week.
Further cementing her place among the best girls golfers in Northeast Ohio, Drehs made her dream a reality Tuesday with an even-par 72 to advance as an individual out of the Legends of Massillon District, becoming the first Bee to do so since Mindy Herrick in 2013.
Drehs left Stark County in tears of disappointment last season. This year, the four-year starter fought back tears of joy while getting hugs from teammates and posing for pictures, including with Greater Cleveland Conference Player of the Year Jessica Wang, after completing the most clutch round of her life.
“I’m feeling overjoyed because last year I just missed going to state by one stroke, and that was really difficult,” she said. “I made sure that I knew every stroke was going to count because I wanted to make it to states. It’s such a competitive district. As you can see, there’s a playoff for 74, so I knew I had to shoot low.”
The right-hander and surefire college player admitted to nerves upon arrival, but a 90-minute fog delay cleared her mind. Unlike many other teams, Medina relaxed and used the downtime to laugh and gossip like any other quintet of teenage girls would.
Drehs was locked in from the start by sticking an approach to within three feet on the third hole and following with a near-ace, igniting an iron game that consistently led to scoring opportunities. Drehs made the turn at 1 under and remained steady with a 1 over on the back to make history.
Drehs needed every stroke, as Canfield’s Hannah Keffler defeated Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin’s Nora Nelson in a playoff after tying for the final individual berth with 74s. Hudson’s Jenn David carded a blistering 69, while GlenOak star Jessica Hahn played alongside Drehs en route to a 73.
“I was more prepared going into this year,” Drehs said. “Just overall, my season, I felt I’ve been playing more consistent, shooting lower numbers, so I knew coming in here that I did have a chance. I realized, ‘OK, I am one of the top players now.’”
Free-and-easy Medina (339) shot its best score of the season away from home, Medina Country Club, to finish sixth. Sophomore Maddie Debnar (87), senior Rebecca Prandi (89) and sophomore Erin Frey (90) completed the scoring.
“We had a great showing,” Drehs said. “We should all be proud of that. We missed by four strokes. There’s nothing to be ashamed of there.”
While Drehs and the Bees were content missing state by technically five strokes — Magnificat (334) would have won a fifth-player tiebreaker — Cloverleaf (346) was frustrated in 12th. The Colts were fifth at the 2016 D-II state tournament and returned four starters but didn’t have enough firepower to compete with qualifiers Solon (314), North Canton Hoover (320), Hathaway Brown (333) and Magnificat.
Averi Hanna was dealt the most heartbreak, shooting a 3-over 75 to fall one stroke shy of the playoff. Fellow junior Mckenna Jordan added a 79, while sophomore Brynn Shetterly (91) also broke 100.
“I’m a little disappointed but excited for next year,” Hanna said. “Just wanting to get out and not, missing short putts that should have been made, it was nerve-racking, but I tried to let it go and play my game. Unfortunately, I didn’t make every putt I should have.”
Defending state runner-up Highland (373) finished last among the 16 teams. Alicia Porvasnik ended a stellar four-year career with an 81, while junior and fellow veteran Tiffany So recorded an 84.
Wadsworth junior Secilia Ho fired an 80 in her third district appearance.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MASSILLON — Results from the Legends of Massillon Division I District at par-72 Legends of Massillon Golf Club South and East Courses:
Standings (top 4 advance to Oct. 20-21 state tournament): 1. Solon 314, 2. North Canton Hoover 320, 3. Hathaway Brown 333, 4. Magnificat 334, 5. Kent Roosevelt 336, 6. Medina 338, 7. Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin 339, 8. Walsh Jesuit 343, 9. Avon Lake 343, 10. GlenOak 344, 11. Poland Seminary 346, 12. Cloverleaf 346, 13. Canfield 349, 14. Massillon Perry 365, 15. North Royalton 372, 16. Highland 373.
Individual qualifiers: Jenn David (Hudson) 69, Alyssa Drehs (Med) 72, Jessica Hahn (GO) 73, Hannah Keffler (C) 74.
Medina (338): Alyssa Drehs 72, Maddie Debnar 87, Rebecca Prandi 89, Erin Frey 90, Alex Wiedemann 100.
Cloverleaf (346): Averi Hanna 75, Mckenna Jordan 79, Brynn Shetterly 91, Emma Harrell 101, Nina Buchan 103.
Highland (373): Alicia Porvasnik 81, Tiffany So 84, Bridgette Waldo 99, Taylor Waibel 109, Lindsey Frederick 114.
County individual: Secilia Ho (Wadsworth) 80.