There are several outstanding girls golfers returning from the 2020 season in the Stark County area. Among them are: Division I state runners-up GlenOak senior Madison Reemsnyder in 2019 and Jackson senior Avery Wright in 2020, Central Catholic junior Kristen Belden, Green senior Samantha DeMuesy, Hoover junior Hannah Higgins, Green senior Emily Liptak, Louisville senior Alexis Ralston, Perry senior Sophia Rosa, Louisville senior Erin Strouse and Marlington junior Maria Warner.  

Before starting league competition in early August 2021 though, Madison Reemsnyder also played in several summer tournaments. She won the prestigious 35th Annual Hudson Junior Invitational event played at the Country Club of Hudson from Tuesday, June 22, through Thursday, June 24, winning the title by four strokes in windy conditions, finishing at 1-under par 218 (76-72-70) for the tournament. Keeping it all in the family, her cousin, Jessica Hahn, a sophomore on the women’s golf team at the University of Akron, won the title in 2019. 

Junior Girls Golf
by Loretta Gerber
Madison also took advantage of a breakthrough moment. She won the oldest international invitational for junior golfers in North America--the International Junior Masters in East Aurora, New York—played Tuesday, June 29, through Friday, July 2. What made this tournament so special is that this marked the first time in the event’s 68-year history that girls were invited to play. Madison shot a two-round 153 (72-81) to win the girls stroke play division, which consisted of an eight-girl field, by one stroke ahead of Peru’s Luisamarina Mesones.

Federal League Preseason Girls Golf Tournament
The Federal League Preseason Tournament was played on Tuesday, August 10, at par-72 Tannenhauf Golf Club. And as one would expect, the two top golfers in Stark County, Avery Wright, a University of Akron recruit, and Madison Reemsnyder, a Xavier University recruit, competed for first place with Avery firing a 3-under 69, edging Madison by one stroke for medalist honors. The 69 ties Avery’s career low for 18 holes during last year’s Stark County Championships at par-71 Sanctuary Golf Club. However, Avery will prove maybe sooner than she thought why “Records are only made to be broken.”

Hoover Vikings won the team title with a 320, eight strokes better than second place Green, with junior Hannah Higgins leading the Vikings at 78, followed by junior Halle Ellis shooting a 79, seniors Abby Blackburn 80 and Campbell Young 83. Green senior Emily Liptak and junior Ava Pulley each shot 74 to lead their team.

Also shooting in the 70s were Perry senior Sophia Rosa (73), Lake junior Kate Potashnik (78) and Jackson junior Abrielle Nikolaidis (79).

Jackson’s Avery Wright Shoots Career Low.
Just one day after winning medalist honors in the Federal League Preseason Girls Golf Tournament with a 69, Avery shot a career best and school record 10-under par 63 in a four team match play invitational hosted by the Polar Bears at Shady Hollow Country Club. She won each six hole round, scoring three. Avery made eight birdies, including four straight on the front nine, closing with an eagle on the par-5 No. 18 from the red tees in her bogey free round.

The round was interrupted for an hour by a rain delay, but it didn’t affect her play as is evidenced from a quote in The Repository: “I don’t like rain delays,” Wright said. “I like playing in bad weather. I feel like it makes me focus more. It did me some good.”  

Stark County Girls Golf Championships—Arrowhead Golf Club—September 25, 2021
Perry’s Sophia Rosa shot 1-over par 71 at Arrowhead Golf Club to win the Stark County Championships individual title by one shot over Hoover’s Abby Blackburn.

Hoover won the team championship by 16 shots with Abby Blackburn’s 72 leading the way. The Vikings shot 315, followed by Marlington’s 331, Jackson with 334 and Louisville 339.

Green Girls Golf Team Wins Postseason Tournament and Federal League.
The Postseason Tournament was held at The Elms Country Club on Monday, September 27. Green won the Federal League Postseason Tournament by three strokes over Hoover with a 325. Emily Liptak led Green, finishing third individually with a 74. Jackson’s Avery Wright was event medalist, shooting an even-par 72. GlenOak’s Madison Reemsnyder shot a 73 to win second place.

The Lady Bulldogs have won the Federal League Championship for the second year in a row. They finished the regular season 6-0 and all the other matches were tournaments with the team finishing in the top four. Members of the team are freshman Sydney Shocklee, sophomore Raelynn Winkler, juniors Zanna Belacic, Ava Pulley, seniors Samantha Demuesy and Emily Liptak. The Green girls golf team joined the Federal League seven years ago and has won the Federal League Championship four of those years.

Hoover won second place in the Federal League, followed by Jackson, Lake, Perry, GlenOak and McKinley.

Division I Sectional Tournament—Elms Country Club—Wednesday, October 6
Qualifiers: Top 4 teams and 4 individuals not on a qualifying team
Both Jackson and Green finished tied at 325 for first place. The tiebreaker was determined in a fifth player scorecard won by Jackson junior Vanessa Prodafikas, who parred her final hole to the give the Polar Bears a one-shot advantage in the tiebreaker to win the sectional title. Avery Wright led Jackson with a 73. Hoover finished in third place (333) and Louisville in fourth (336).  

Two-time individual defending champion Madison Reemsnyder completed a three-peat by firing 1-under 71. Perry’s Sophia Rosa and Wadsworth senior Arianna Kaser, tying with 76, were followed by Cloverleaf senior Jill Donnelly with 85, all qualifying for individual district berths.

Division I District Tournament—Brookledge Golf Club—Tuesday, October 12
Qualifiers: Top 4 teams and 4 individuals not on a qualifying team
The Jackson girls just have a knack for knowing when to kick their game into gear at the right time. They secured a state berth for the 13th time in the last 14 years by finishing third at Brookledge Golf Club in Cuyahoga Falls. Avery Wright shot 77 to lead Jackson, regrouping on the second nine after a 7-over par on the front nine. Also, Jackson’s No. 5 player, senior Rylee Colangelo, shot an 84, giving her team a big push into the top four.

Rocky River Magnificat won the team title with a 318, followed by runner-up Medina Highland with a 324, Jackson 327 and Kent Roosevelt 334, all securing a berth in the state tournament. 

Medina Highland sophomore Isabella Goyette won medalist honors, shooting 35s on both the front and back nines for a 1-under 70. Madison Reemsnyder didn’t advance to the state tournament last year due to a rare off day. Although Madison started off strong, she had a rough back nine but wasn’t going to be denied a state berth in her senior year and finished second overall with 72. Hoover’s Abby Blackburn (75), Green’s Emily Liptak (76) and Aurora sophomore Brooklyn Millard (76) also earned individual state berths.

Division I State Tournament—Ohio State University Gray Course—Friday-Saturday, October 22-23—12 teams and 72 individuals 
New Albany Girls Win Fourth Consecutive Golf State Title.  
New Albany staged a second day comeback after trailing Mason by six strokes to secure its fourth consecutive state championship with a team score of 588, finishing five strokes better than runner-up Mason’s 593.

The only team representing Stark County was Jackson, who finished in eighth place with 328-325-653.

Dublin Jerome junior Audrey Ryu earned medalist honors with a 2-under par 138 (71-67). Her second round score of 67 is tied for the lowest all-time 18-hole score in girls golf state tournament history with Rocky River Magnificat sophomore Cara Heisterkamp, who shot 67 a day earlier.

Both Madison Reemsnyder and Avery Wright finished in the top 10 at state—Madison took fifth place, shooting 3-over par 143 to finish five strokes behind state winner Audrey Ryu. This is Madison’s second top five finish at the state tournament, finishing as state runner-up in 2019.  

Avery competed in her fourth state tournament, finishing seventh. She had a two-round total of 146 (72-74). Avery finished as the state runner-up in 2020 and was 11th as a sophomore.

Division II Sectional Tournament—The Pines Golf Club—Tuesday, September 7
Qualifiers: Top 4 teams and 4 individuals not on a qualifying team
Marlington junior Maria Warner (40-37-77) and senior Jayden Mitchell (37-40-77) shared medalist honors to help lead Marlington to a Division II sectional title at The Pines in Orrville.

The Dukes shot 332 and finished 27 strokes ahead of runner-up Columbia to win the team title with ease.

Canton Central Catholic also advanced to the district tournament. The team finished third with a 369. Senior Kaitlin Belden led the Crusaders with an 84.

West Salem Northwestern junior Kylee Purdee (78), Field senior Devon Carpenter (83), Orrville sophomore Abby Ankeman (87) and Lake Center Christian junior Leah Starcher (91) earned individual district berths.

Division II District Tournament—Sable Creek Golf Course—Wednesday, October 6
Qualifiers: Top three teams and three individuals not on a qualifying team
Canton Central Catholic shot 353, finishing four strokes ahead of runner-up Marlington to win the district title.  Junior Kristen Belden shot 82 to lead the Crusaders to the team title. Rounding out the team are members senior Kaitlin Belden with an 89, juniors Caroline Harold 89 and Sarah Colucy 93.

Both Central and Marlington advance to the state tournament. 

Marlington’s Jayden Mitchell finished third overall with a 78.  Kristen came in fourth.

Individual state qualifiers were Ella Wong (Gates Mills Hawken junior) 73, Kylee Purdy (West Salem Northwestern junior) 77, Samantha Turk (Villa Angela-St. Joseph junior) 83. 

Division II State Tournament—Ohio State University Gray Course—Friday-Saturday, October 15-16—12 teams and 71 individuals 
For the second time in three years, the Marlington Dukes finished as runner-up in the Division II state championships to Lima Central Catholic, who won their fourth consecutive Division II state title, edging Marlington (317-351-668) by 12 strokes with a score of 318-338-656. They are the first Division II team to win four championships in a row. Only Division I Dublin Jerome’s five in a row (2011-15) are more. Saturday’s scores were appreciably higher across the board on Saturday due to temperatures 15 to 20 degrees cooler with much stronger winds than Friday’s first round.

The Dukes were led by junior Maria Warner, a veteran of the 2019 tournament, who fired a 73-84-157 to tie for fifth among all players. Freshman Zoe Mort tied for 9th (76-83-159), senior Jayden Mitchell 11th (79-81-160), sophomore Kelsey Nieman 58th (89-105-194) and junior Becky Kuhlman 64th (97-103-200).

The Canton Central Catholic girls team finished eighth with 718.

After finishing fourth in 2020, junior Ella Wong of Gates Mills Hawken captured the individual medalist honors with a two-stroke lead (71-75-146) over Shelby senior Nicole Jones, shooting 73-75-148.

Stark County Girls Golfer and Coach of the Year
Our congratulations to GlenOak’s Madison Reemsnyder, who was selected the Stark County Player of the Year by the Stark County Golf Coaches Association! 

Our congratulations also go to Marlington Coach Shawn Dillon, who was voted the Stark County Coach of the Year!  

Girls Golf Athlete of the Year Nominees for Stark County HSSA Show
The winner of the girls golf athlete of the year will be awarded in June of 2022 at the Stark County High School Sports Awards show, which is part of the USA TODAY High School Sports Awards, the largest high school sports recognition program in the country. Future details of the program will be coming soon.

The nominees are: Kristen Belden, Central Catholic junior, Abby Blackburn, Hoover senior, Jayden Mitchell, Marlington senior, Zoe Mort, Marlington freshman, Savanna Porter, Jackson senior, Kate Potashnik, Lake junior, Alexis Ralston, Louisville senior, Madison Reemsnyder, GlenOak senior, Sophia Rosa, Perry senior, Erin Strouse, Louisville senior, Maria Warner, Marlington junior, Avery Wright, Jackson senior.

SCWAGA Scholarship Co-Winners
Perry High graduate Kassidy Glover and Hoover High graduate Grace May are the recipients of SCWAGA’s Betty Kerby Peppard Scholarship, awarding $500.00 each. Kassidy is attending and playing golf for Malone University and Grace for Grace College.

Kassidy is majoring in finance. Grace is undecided at this time but is exploring the many different fields that Grace College has to offer.

Since 1999, SCWAGA has awarded 37 scholarships, mostly in the amount of $500.00 to eligible graduating senior girl golfers. Our Scholarship Application is available on our website at scwaga.com for further information.

50th Anniversary of 
Title IX--1972-2022
Since the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, female sports participation at the high school level has grown 1,057%. Title IX has provided countless opportunities for millions of student-athletes. A 12th sport has been added with the sponsorship of girls wrestling in 2021-22. Currently more than 3.4 million girls are taking advantage of the opportunity to participate nationally. 

Title IX has given girls golf as well as other girls sports, especially in Stark County, the opportunity to grow and progress. And progress it has!  From its inception, girls golf in Stark County continues to grow and has become one of the most highly competitive girls sports in the state of Ohio.