LAFAYETTE TWP. — It wasn’t just a step forward for the Medina girls golf team Thursday, it was a colossal leap.
Hosting the Medina Invitational, the Bees finished fifth in the 14-team field. In carding a 328 at par-70 Medina Country Club, the Bees shaved 23 strokes off their best score of the season (Aug. 13, George Valentine Invitational) and had epic days from everyone involved.
Ashland won with a 305.
“I told everyone, ‘Now’s the time,’” Medina coach Mickey McGrath said. “We have to play now. We’ve practiced. We’ve been in tournaments. Now’s the time we have to run it. We’re slow starters, but now we have to kick it in.”
The Bees must have been paying close attention because Erin Frey and Maddie Debnar turned in career lows with 77s. Cleo Meldrum added a career-best 86, while Olivia Ferris pocketed a career-low 88. While they didn’t use her score, Aubrey Cavey’s 93 was just off her personal best as the Bees made the turn for home in the 2018 season with a statement showing.
“I had the confidence after the first nine and I think it’s enough confidence to finish the entire season with,” said Frey, who dropped a 38 on the Red Course. “I don’t think I’ve ever been 3-over after nine.
“Golf is 90 percent mind, so doing what I did makes you not even think about it. (Wednesday) I didn’t have a good day and I was just thinking constantly of what I was doing wrong and what could I fix. Today, it was just, ‘I know what I can do. Trust yourself and do it.’ When you swing and there’s that moment when you hit it perfect and you know you hit it perfect, that feeling keeps driving you because you want to hit another one perfect.”
Frey, who lowered her career best by five strokes, showed off a bit with no double bogeys and 11 pars to finish tied with Debnar for sixth, one shot out of a top-five finish.
Debnar shaved three strokes off her career best by throwing up 13 pars on the 4,470-yard course. Like Frey, she felt she could put together a good day, and coming home with a par-36 on the Green Course showed just how determined the junior was.
“I feel like I finally achieved my goal,” Debnar said. “I’ve been working so hard to get out of the 80s. To finally do that, I feel so relieved and I’m happy.
“The first nine was a little rough, but I wanted to turn the page and look at the back nine as a new nine. I stayed back in my stance and took a smooth swing. I had my confidence up and just wanted to get to every hole.”
Highland’s Alessandra Goyette continued her solid campaign by firing a 79. While the score was two off her personal best, it was her best score since Aug. 8 in the Suburban League Preseason Tournament at J.E. Goodpark Golf Course. Goyette’s round included two birdies.
“Knowing that I can shoot in the 70s and doing it more often gives me more confidence,” she said.
Goyette drove the green on one par four and was 10 yards off on another. That mentality is what Hornets coach Mary Becker hopes carries her freshman sensation through the postseason.
“She’s just a great ball striker,” Becker said. “Her improvement has to come in believing in that’s where she belongs. She’s a 70s shooter. Once she believes it, I think she’ll be consistently down in the 70s. It’s got to be a shot in the arm, a boost of confidence. She should be pretty proud of what she did today.”
Highland’s Tiffany So shot a 90 to complement Goyette’s performance.
The Medina “B” team was strong as well with Alaina Borra (91), Hayley Johnson (93) and Sophia Barry (98) finishing with sub-100 scores.
at par-70 Medina C.C.
Team standings: 1. Ashland 305, 2. Avon Lake 320, 3, Solon 321, 4. Green 326, 5. Medina 328, 6. Hudson 334, 7. Olmsted Falls 351, 8. Dover 376, 9. Medina “B” 386, 10. Mentor 387, 11. Highland 392, 12. Archbishop Hoban 394, 13. Strongsville 396, 14. Twinsburg 414.
Top individuals: 1. Paighton Masterson (AL) 65, 2. Anna Watson (Ash) 66, 3. Jen David (Hud) 73, 4. Kira Moore (Ash) 76, 5. Grace Gao (Sol) 76.
Medina (328): Maddie Debnar 77, Erin Frey 77, Cleo Meldrum 86, Olivia Ferris 88, Aubrey Cavey 93.
Medina “B” (386): Alaina Borra 91, Hayley Johnson 93, Sophia Barry 98, Taylor Bilinovich 104, Zoe Rupp 106.
Highland (392): Alessandra Goyette 79, Tiffany So 90, Tess Gallaspie 109, Kenzie Roe 114.