What started as a dream became a reality when the Independence girls’ golf team teed off for the first time earlier this month.
|Freshman Sophia Trombetta was second at the CVC tournament|
Head coach Karl Schuld, whose daughter Hallie qualified for the OHSAA state golf tournament last fall as a member of the Highland Hornets, first thought about bringing girls golf to Independence two years ago when several members of this year’s team were seventh graders.
In just their third tournament, the Blue Devils finished second at the Chagrin Valley Conference preseason tournament on Tuesday at Pleasant Hills Golf Course in Chardon.
“I’m real proud of the kids,” Schuld said. “We had no expectations coming in. Nobody expected anything. We’re starting four freshmen, a sophomore and a junior.”
Apparently, they’re quick learners.
Led by freshmen Sophia Trombetta and Lyndsay Blum, who finished second and sixth, respectively, the Blue Devils finished with 359 strokes, just four behind first place Kenston and 25 less than third place Hawken.
“It’s the first year so every time out we set a (school) record,” Schuld joked.
Opposing teams might not appreciate the humor, especially if the Blue Devils continue to knock strokes off their game.
At the Warren JFK Invitational at Candywood on Aug. 7, the Blue Devils finished in 11th place with a score of 387. They shot a 383 a few days later at the Lexington Invitational and knocked off 24 more strokes at the CVC tournament.
Freshman Christina Brunsman shot a 121 in her first tournament at Candywood. In less than a week she trimmed 26 strokes from her card to finish with a 95 at the CVC tournament.
“This all started as a dream from my experience with my daughter playing junior golf and playing at Highland, one of the top teams in the state,” Schuld said. “I think we’re much further along than most first year teams would be. Our theme for this year is, ‘Dream On and Shock the World.’ I think we already shocked a lot of people with our performance.”
Trombetta is the team’s top player.
She spent the past couple of years on the Southwest Junior Golf Tour and learning from her grandfather, Chuck Morrow.
She won the 2014 Founders Cup and was named the tour’s Player of the Year in the 13-15 age group.
Blum is the team’s No. 2 golfer and junior Kaylie Kemenyes holds down the No. 3 spot. Kemenyes played on the boys’ JV team last year and is the only Independence player with any high school golf experience.
Rounding out the top four is freshman Brunsman, who set a career low at the CVC tournament.
“Lyndsay is becoming a very respectable golfer. She shot 89 at the first tournament and she shot a 90 yesterday. Kaylie is getting better and Christina, that’s the first time she broke 100,” Schuld said. “We were giving high fives and I think maybe people might have misunderstood why we were so excited.”
Sophomore Bryleigh Wise also shot a career low with a 119 at the CVC tournament. She fills the No. 5 spot for the Blue Devils.
Maddie Harper, Madeline Minzora and Tara Krsak are three freshmen that rotate in and out of the sixth spot. Harper shot a 129 at the CVC tournament. It was her first golf competition.
“We really came out of nowhere,” Schuld said. “A lot of people didn’t even know we had a team. That’s how we wanted it at first. It’s been great and we’re having a lot of fun. When you’re having fun you golf well.”
Schuld hopes to grow the program in the future.
A successful first season certainly will help promote the program within the halls at Independence and the opportunities for girls to play golf in college should help.
“There are opportunities for them to golf at the college level,” Schuld said. “There are not a lot of girls golfers out there. I’m trying to get the word out to the girls in Independence that there are opportunities out there.”
The Blue Devils return to action on Thursday with a match against Hawken. On Friday, Schuld will juggle his lineup and send a group of girls to the Highland JV tournament. The team will compete on Monday in Mentor’s Invitational at St. Denis.