TUSCARAWAS TWP. — A step up wasn’t a step back for the Cloverleaf girls golf team.
If anything, the Colts used experience at The Elms Division I Sectional on Wednesday to finish runner-up behind North Canton Hoover.
A fifth-place finisher in D-II last season, Cloverleaf was bumped to the big school division and butted with a few heavy hitters at The Elms Country Club.
The Colts passed to the Legends of Massillon District with flying colors, finishing 22 strokes better than No. 3 GlenOak and 28 ahead of Massillon Perry at the par-72 course. The Vikings pocketed a 320.
“The experience definitely pays off,” Cloverleaf coach Adam Michel said. “I felt once we played two practice rounds here, they were calm and collected. They had a strategy to stay below the hole because you can get crushed on these greens if you’re above them.”
Mckenna Jordan and Averi Hanna were rock solid to help the Colts advance.
Jordan’s 2-over par 74 that paced the way was third, while Hanna’s 76 was fourth.
Brynn Shetterly and Emma Harrell, who fought off a pulled muscle, carded 92s, with Nina Buchan adding a 98.
That Jordan, Hanna, Shetterly and Harrell played in Columbus last season made the enormity of the situation a little easier to navigate.
“It helped us to know we can actually do it,” Jordan said. “No matter what the competition, you’re playing the course. It doesn’t matter what the other teams are doing. It helped push us more in practice.”
That certainly helped Jordan when she took a double-bogey on the 140-yard second hole and rebounded to shoot even the rest of the round. Included was an eagle on the 415-yard, par-5 13th and birdies on Nos. 7, 12 and 16.
Hanna went a stretch on the back nine where she bogeyed the first three holes, but found enough to add a birdie at 16 to go along with 1-unders at No. 5 and No. 8.
“It helps being in these situations before,” Hanna said. “I’m obviously not as nervous as I was (two years ago). You know how to deal with nerves better.
“I just knew I got through the hardest holes on the back nine. I thought, ‘OK. I’ve got some birdie holes ahead of me. Let’s get it back.’ You just want to play well for your team. When you feel like giving up, it’s like, ‘No, my team is counting on me. I just can’t give up now.’
Don’t expect Cloverleaf to be content with advancing to districts.
A season ago, the Colts set the benchmark with their first state appearance. Jordan, Hanna, Shetterly, Harrell and Buchan are dreaming about a return to the Ohio State University Gray Course.
“I know the girls are looking forward to next week,” Michel said. “We played Highland there and played pretty well (339 score on Sept. 23). Anything can happen out there. We’re very fortunate to be where we’re at.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TUSCARAWAS TWP. — Results Wednesday from the Elms Division I Sectional at par-72 The Elms C.C.:
Standings (top 4 advance to Legends of Massillon District): 1. North Canton Hoover 320, 2. Cloverleaf 334, 3. GlenOak 356, 4. Massillon Perry 362, 5. Copley 362, 6. Marlington 368, 7. Massillon Jackson 397, 8. Archbishop Hoban 384, 9. Green 390, 10. Louisville 397, 11. Springfield 400, 12. Lake 404, 13. Massillon 422, 14. Norton 424, 15. Alliance 466.
Individual qualifiers: 1. Maia Matthey (Copley) 73, Olivia Swain (Uniontown Lake) 78, 3. Alea Griffith (Barberton) 80, 4. Gianna Hathaway (Massillon) 83.
Cloverleaf (334): Mckenna Jordan 74, Averi Hanna 76, Brynn Shetterly 92, Emma Harrell 92, Nina Buchan 99.