COLUMBUS — Jessica Porvasnik made it crystal clear Saturday she has the focus, skills and heart of a champion.
The Highland megastar wasn’t going to be denied a Division I state championship, and tied the division state record with a two-day total of 140 to win medalist by a convincing seven strokes.
Porvasnik joins Brunswick’s Kelly Moskal (1996) and Sharon Township resident Kathleen Ekey (Walsh Jesuit, 2005) as Medina County natives to win a girls golf title.
“She’s just a great kid,” Highland coach Mary Becker said while fighting back tears. “She played like a state champ. She’s very focused.
“She had a mission. She was on a mission from the minute we got here, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Holding a two-stroke lead after shooting a tournament-record 2-under-par 68 on Friday, Porvasnik continued to conquer Ohio State University’s Gray Course while the rest of the field imploded under windy and chilly weather.
The three-time Gazette MVP opened the final round on the 5,800-yard layout with 13 holes of pars or lower, highlighted by a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 10th.
She gave back two strokes with a short three-putt on 14 and bogeyed 17 and 18, but, unbeknownst to Porvasnik, there was never a doubt who was heading home with the gold. The three players who trailed Porvasnik by two heading into the day — Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson, North Canton Hoover’s MacKenzie DiPietro and Kent Roosevelt’s Kasey Nielsen — failed to break 80.
Avon Lake’s Niki Schroeder, one of Porvasnik’s closest friends, finished second with a 75-72-147.
“I wasn’t really nervous,” said Porvasnik, who finished tied for 17th, second, tied for sixth and first during her high school career. “Getting off to great starts really helped me.
“Knowing that you’re not leading by so many strokes, you still had to play solid golf. Down the stretch, I wasn’t sure where anyone was. I had to hold it together. It was probably a good thing not knowing.”
Before officially being aware of her individual honor, Porvasnik, who had seven birdies, five bogeys and one double bogey over 36 holes, knew the Hornets fell short of their longtime goal of a team championship by one stroke, coming in second to Dublin Jerome (629).
It was an extremely bitter pill to swallow after Porvasnik, Jessica McRae, Chloe Mc-Kinzie and Rachel Horvath were a combined 6 over Saturday on the par-4 18th.
The initial disappointment faded quickly when the Hornets roared as Porvasnik walked to the scoreboard stage to receive her prize.
It was a career-capping moment that will be entrenched in the 17-year-old’s mind forever.
“I knew I could do it,” she said. “I was just ready to go. I’m trusting my swing a lot more, and I knew the ball was going to go straight because I work so much on it. I was really mentally prepared.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or email@example.com.