COLUMBUS – It was an historic day for Lima Central Catholic’s girls golf team on Saturday on the last day of the state tournament, which is something you could have said every year for the last four years.
LCC extended its streak of Division II state championships to four in a row by finishing 12 strokes ahead of runner-up Marlington on Ohio State’s Gray Course.
No. 2 player Emma Mayers shot a 157 (78-79) to lead the Thunderbirds. No. 1 Bridget Mulcahy had a 158 (74-84), No. 3 Carlie VanMeter shot 168 (82-86) and No. 4 Leiahnni Smith shot 173 (84-89) for a team score of 656.
Smith’s score played a big role in LCC’s win since she finished 21 strokes lower than Marlington’s No. 4. LCC’s No. 5 player Olivia Garver added a 97 on Saturday to a 101 on Friday in the first round of the tournament.
Two years ago LCC became the first Division II girls golf team to win back-to-back state titles. Last year it became the first to do it three years in a row. Now it has done it four consecutive years.
“We thought about it a lot. We tried not to talk about it. We didn’t want to jinx it or whatever. But it was definitely our goal,” Mulcahy said.
There was a big difference in personnel for LCC this year, though. Mary Kelly Mulcahy and Erin Mulcahy, who played No. 1 and No. 2 the last three seasons, graduated last spring and moved on to the University of Findlay’s golf team.
“This year was a lot more stressful because we didn’t have the cushion of the twins (Mary Kelly and Erin Mulcahy). But all around I think this one has the best energy for me since it’s my senior year and my last year and a good way to end it,” VanMeter said.
LCC began Saturday’s round one shot behind Marlington, which might have given the Thunderbirds a little extra incentive.
“Being one stroke behind we were the underdog, so we had the motivation to come in and play our best round,” VanMeter said.
Not that the Thunderbirds needed any extra motivation Saturday or at the end of last season to go for four, but coach Dan Reinicke added some at last season’s postseason team banquet.
“Last year at our banquet I told the five girls who were here today that their averages were good enough to have placed fourth at state last year. I said, ‘You’re good enough to be fourth. With some work, who knows?’ ” he said.
“We worried about sectionals when sectionals came. We worried about districts when districts came. And then we thought about state. It was probably an unspoken goal but we just talked about getting better and coming down here eventually.”
Mayers, Mulcahy and VanMeter have combined for 10 state championships – four for Mayers and three each for Mulcahy and VanMeter.
Mayers said, “Every year has been different. Honestly, I wasn’t going into it expecting a fourth win. I knew we’re in the top but I don’t know if it was going to for sure follow through and it did and it’s so amazing I’m at a loss for words.”
Mayers also accomplished a personal goal on the way to a fourth championship.
“My goal was to shoot below 80 both days. I did and it feels so good to shoot under 80 both days,” she said.
LCC’s win came on a day when high winds were a constant factor for all the golfers.
“This was an amazing second day. The girls kept it together. With the weather we knew the scores were going to be up. They just did what they had to do,” Reinicke said.
Coldwater finished ninth in the Division II tournament, led by Jordan Hemmelgarn with a 180 and Laney Finke with a 182. Fort Recovery’s Jalyn Bruns was fourth as an individual with a 156 two-day total.
Division III boys
Allen East’s Zach Miller tied for sixth as an individual with a 155 two-day total. He shot 73 on Friday and 82 on Saturday on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course. He started his second round in second place.
“It (getting to the state tournament) was a goal. I was down here last year. I was able to put myself in a position to compete but things just didn’t go my way today,” Miller said.
Jack Gerker of Delphos St. John’s shot a 161 (76-85) and tied for 16th as an individual.
Kalida was fifth as a team at 671, led by Ryan Klausing (156), Connor Nartker (169), Justin Siebeneck (171) and Ethan Warnecke (175).
Minster tied for seventh at 698. Mitchell Bornhorst (167), Nathan Beair (168), Louis Magoto (174) and Jack Meyer (187) led the Wildcats.
Ottoville was tenth at 701, led by Carter Schnipke (167), Dru Hilvers (174), Keaton Schnipke (180) and Michael Turnwald (180).
Division II boys
Bath’s Britton Hall tied for sixth as an individual in the Division II state tournament at Northstar with a 152 (75-77).
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.