Jackson girls golf team aces field to advance to state

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MASSILLON —

Jackson girls golf coach Teal Harvey doesn’t know what next week will hold, but if his Polar Bears can duplicate anything approaching their effort at Tuesday’s Division I district tournament, their chances at a state title should increase exponentially.

Jackson blitzed the field, as well as a tough layout at The Legends, to capture a district title with a 302 final score. That was nine shots better than second-place Medina Highland (311), which was led by individual medalist Jessica Porvasnik’s 4-under 68. Magnificat was third at 320, while Notre Dame Cathedral Latin (328) was fourth and Brecksville (332) placed fifth.

Those five teams advance to the state tournament at The Ohio State University’s Gray Course next Friday and Saturday. It’s Jackson’s fourth straight trip to Columbus and fifth overall.

While acknowledging every coach’s fear of peaking too early, Harvey wasn’t too concerned about his team leaving some of its best golf in Northeast Ohio before traveling south.

“As a coach you’re always looking to play better next week, but 302 is just a great score on a tough golf course,” Harvey said. “It was just a phenomenal day. We started on the East Course and when we made the turn our low four were at 145. When you’re that low at the turn you have a feeling it’s going to be a really good day.”

It was for most of the Polar Bears, especially sophomore Cassie Pantelas and freshman Landrie Grace, who led the way for Harvey’s squad. Pantelas’ 71 was one of four under-par rounds on the day, while Grace followed her with a 1-over 73. Kelsey Schutt and Kaitlyn Cherniuk both shot 79, while sophomore Louisa Engelhardt, in a demonstration of Jackson’s depth, fired an 80 that included a four-putt on the final green.

Harvey had Pantelas lead off the day, while Grace was lower in the playing order. They combined to give Jackson tremendous book-end rounds.

“Cassie led it off and I put her at the top for a good reason. After that I had a good feeling Landrie was going to play well,” Harvey said. “She hadn’t been playing up to her standards but I just felt she was going to do well today. They both hit a lot of really good shots today.”

Harvey said a familiarity with the course, as well as a relaxed attitude, helped the Polar Bears rebound from shooting 333 at last week’s sectional tournament at Turkeyfoot. Highland was first at 322.

“They know the golf course and that helps a lot. They’ve played here and it’s a course where being familiar with it really helps,” said Harvey, whose team last took the district crown in 2009. “Last week, we put a little too much pressure on ourselves, but we talked all week about having fun today. We came out real loose and that helped us.”

The season came to an end for Perry’s Taylor Henderhan, who shot 89 after advancing as an individual from last week’s sectional action.

“Taylor swung the club as well as I’ve seen her, but she was misalinged on a couple holes and it really hurt her,” Perry coach Max Baker said. “She had a terrible front side but battled back on the back side. A lot of kids might have cashed it in after that, but she fought hard and showed a lot of heart out there.”
 
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