ARLINGTON - The Lima Central Catholic girls golf team brought home the 2018 Division II State golf title and are returning to state.
The Thunderbird linksters earned the right to defend that title with a winning team score of 334 during the Division II district tournament at Sycamore Springs Golf Course Monday. The Thunderbirds will compete at state Oct. 11.
With three regulars from that team to build around in 2019, they were a team one might have expected to be a threat again.
This edition of Thunderbirds was led by the 73 of junior Mary Kelly Mulcahy and the 76 of her twin sister, Erin Mulcahy, also a junior.
Sophomore Carli VanMeter shot a 92, freshman Bridget Mulcahy a 93 and sophomore Emma Mayers a 95.
“We had a short week to get ready. We had our sectionals on Tuesday and had a match on Wednesday, so we only had two days to prepare,’ LCC head coach Daniel Reinicke said. “We chipped and putted on Thursday and then hit the range on Friday. We play in the Northwest Ohio Girls Golf League and we play a bunch of Division I teams, like Bowling Green, Notre Dame and such. We returned three of our top five this year: Erin, Mary Kelly and Emma.”
Reinicke noted how he is in his second stint as the LCC girls head coach, being the first coach when the program started in 2001 through 2006, then taking over at UNOH in their golf program, then returning in 2016.
“One of the greatest things about this team is its cohesion; they really get along so well and are constantly rooting each other on. They really don’t care who places where; they really enjoy their teammates doing well,’ Reinicke said. “When we won it last year, I think that put some pressure on them but it was mostly from within. Another great thing about this team is they are not competitive with each other but only for opponents. They really care about each other and it’s such a thrill to work with them.They are great people and great players.
“Plus, they work so hard to better their games as much as they can.”
Mary Kelly Mulcahy figured her team had an advantage with the mental game.
“It was hot and humid today and it’s easy enough to let it get to you. Whether it’s raining, snowing or hot and humid, you just have to play your game and go from there,” she said. “We won on the Grey course last year and it’s scheduled to be on the same course this year, so that helps us know what to expect. I don’t know what the weather will be like but that doesn’t matter; you just have to play. When we won it last year, it was such a great feeling and feeling that again really motivated us.”
Her sister, Erin, agreed.
“That was so awesome. You want to feel that same feeling again once you win it the first time,” Erin Mulcahy said. “We have an interesting team because we are still young; we have no seniors on the team and we’ll all be back next year. We know going in we just have to play our game and not worry about anything. We have two new players, so we can help them deal with what’s coming down there. It’s nice to have aniother ssister on the team.
“When we went down as freshmen, we were looking at the team that was the defending champions from the year before; this year, that team is us, so we know teams will be shooting for us.”
Kalida’s Grace Miller moved on in fourth place as an individual, winning a 4-person playoff with Lara Spurlock of Bellevue, Jordan Pruitt of Edison and Olivia Jackson of Otsego.
“Making it to State is a great feeling. It was such a long day,” Miller said. “I had to wait about two hours after I finished my round to go back out for the playoff. I tried to stay loose and relaxed. You have to hit range balls warming up and my coach (Ken Schnipke) told me I needed to slow down and calm down and I did. I also had to stay confident and I was able to do that as well.
“It’s so nice to have my coach with me.”
Her teammate, Kayla Nartker, finished with a 95.
St. Henry came in third as a team with a 371, with Ellen Naumann leading the way with a 71 (tied for medalist with Kyleigh Dull of Lakota), Alana Siefring with a 94, Claire Clune a 98 and Gwyn Elking a 108.
“This is our third straight year of making it to State. My dad coached last year but he died this year, so it’s been a an emotional year,” St. Henry head coach Wendi Moorman said. “Our game plan was to do what we needed to do to advance. Ellen had a phenomenal round but if you’d talk to the other four, they’d tell you they didn’t golf their best. Ellen was consistenty great throughout her round but the other four struggled on the front nine; they just couldn’t find it consistently. They picked it up big time on the back nine and it was good enough to move on.”