Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Independence girls make improbable run to districts

Apparently, nothing is impossible for the Independence girls’ golf team.

Bryleigh Wise was somewhat of a hero for the Blue Devils

The program, in its first year of existence, already has emerged as one of the best in the Chagrin Valley Conference and on Monday the Blue Devils finished fourth at the sectional tournament and earned a berth in next week’s Division II district tournament at Tam O’Shanter Hills in Canton.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Independence coach Karl Schuld. “I cannot believe what these kids have accomplished this year. The compliments we received from all the other coaches, that was really neat.”

Lakeview won the sectional with a total of 352 strokes. Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin was second with 357 and Hathaway Brown was third with 363. The Blue Devils edged Beaumont for fourth place, 392-404.

They did that down a golfer.

Kaylie Kemenyes, who throughout the season finished as Independence’s third or fourth golfer, withdrew from the tournament with a wrist injury.

“That left us with three freshmen and a sophomore,” Schuld said. “Somehow they went out there and pulled it off. They never seem to amaze me.”

Sophia Trombetta led the way for the Blue Devils with an 83. Lyndsay Blum shot a second best 92.

“It was a tale of two nines for Lyndsay. She started with a 49 on the back and came back and shot a 43 on the front. She just dialed it in. Those six strokes came in really big for us,” Schuld said. “Sophia was just her steady self. She went out with a 43 and came in with a 40. There were a lot of people very jealous of those two freshmen. A lot of people would love to have them.”

If the Blue Devils had a hero on Monday, it was Bryleigh Wise.

The first-year golfer shot a career-best 107 to lead the Blue Devils to their fourth place finish. She knocked off about eight strokes from her average.

“She’s the funniest kid. She’s happy all the time,” Schuld said. “She was so excited. I helped her at one time; she was on No. 8 and hit a beautiful drive. She told me she can never get it over the water so I told her to put the ball a little different in her stance and bingo, she made it. The smile on her face was awesome. It was funny, she said, ‘I don’t even know how I’m doing it.’”

Christina Brunsman shot a 110 to round out the Independence scorecard.

“She was better on the first nine than the second but she’s by far our most improved player,” Schuld said. “Today, she was trying some clubs she hasn’t used all year and incorporated them into her game. I think it helped her.”

The odds are stacked against the Blue Devils at the district tournament, but if Schuld has learned one thing this season it’s never to count out his young players.

“We’re going to go down and do the best we can,” he said. “If nothing else, it will be a great experience for next year. Next year the kids won’t be scared. They’ll have been there before. Looking ahead to the future, I’m so excited to have a good nucleus of girls and they’re all excited about golf.”

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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