Saturday, January 28, 2023

Blue Devils win district title, punch ticket to state

Over the course of four years, the Independence girls’ golf team has accomplished many impressive feats.

The Blue Devils won back-to-back Chagrin Valley Conference championships in 2015 and 2016 and last week claimed the program’s first sectional title. On Tuesday, the team claimed its biggest prize yet by winning the Division II district tournament at Tam O’Shanter Golf Course in Canton.

“Unbelievable,” said Independence coach Karl Schuld. “For us to come this far so fast is just amazing.”

By winning the district championship, the Blue Devils earned a spot in next week’s Division II state tournament, which will be played at Ohio State’s Gray Course on Oct. 14-15.

“To win the district championship this quick, this is just incredible,” Schuld said. “Now we go down and see what happens. We're right back to where we were with the districts a couple of years ago. Let's go see what happens. Who knows what can happen. Our score is very, very competitive. I feel that we can do down and compete this year and play with the best teams in Ohio.”

Independence closed out the district with 357 strokes, seven less than second place Cloverleaf.

Junior Sophia Trombetta shot a tournament-low 74 to win her second straight district crown. She’ll return to the state meet for the second straight season after finishing tied for 12th last fall.

“To win back-to-back individual district titles is such an honor for me,” Trombetta said. “I was able to grind hard on the front nine for a decent score, but came back on the second nine feeling extremely confident and had a lot of birdies despite missing a couple of short ones. But today wasn't about me. I am much more proud to win this as a team and I can't wait to get down to states and have a blast with these girls. “

Trombetta, who earlier this fall committed to continue her education and golf career at the University of Michigan, shot a 39 on the front nine and closed out the tournament with an impressive 35 on the back.

Her goal this season was to return to the state tournament with her teammates.

“States is going to be a completely different experience with a team there with me and I can't wait to share it with all of them,” she said. “It feels absolutely amazing. We have worked so unbelievably hard to accomplish this and now that we have, it's an unbelievable feeling. I couldn't be more proud of these girls and all we have done thus far.”

Trombetta’s 74 was just one stroke behind the score of Shelby High School’s Alexis Johnson, who won the Sycamore Springs district with a 73. Johnson is the defending Division II state champion.

Junior Lyndsay Blum finished tied for third overall with an 83. She shot a 41 on the front and a 42 on the back.

“I started out my round very strong with a lot of pars and a birdie on the second hole,” Blum said. “I had a couple doubles in the middle of my round but was still consistent with pars and finished out my round with a birdie on the last hole for an 83. I was crushing my drives today and my putting was consistent, so overall I felt very confident with my swing. That's what kept me solid through my round.”

Blum expects the Blue Devils to play just as well next weekend at state.

“Getting to State as a team is a dream come true,” she said. “This has been our goal all season and all six of us have consistently worked hard throughout this season to get to where we are. We all had a lot of confidence going into today and it showed. We are going to approach state the same way we approach all tournaments. I think we always do well because we don't put a ton of pressure on ourselves. We are definitely going down to compete but also to have fun. This is going to be a great experience for us all and one we definitely will never forget.”

Junior Maddie Harper shot a 96 (46/50) and junior Madeline Mindzora carded a 104 (52/52) to close out the scoring for the Blue Devils. Sophomore Christina Tommer finished with a 107 (53/54).

Independence’s district score is the fourth lowest out of the three districts that were played on Tuesday. Three others will compete on Wednesday.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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