LAND O’LAKES — One season after having only two girls on the entire team, Fivay advanced to its first region tournament by winning the Class A, District 9 championship at Plantation Palms Golf Club on Thursday.
Although usually the top three programs qualify for the next round, the Falcons (466 strokes) and runnerup Wesley Chapel (595) were the only two full squads in the district.
Taylor Rhoades (110) came in fourth individually and led Fivay. Every golfer for the second-year program is either a freshman or sophomore.
“Good things are coming in the years ahead,” Falcons coach Belinda Delaney said. “The girls were excited we won, but they also know we can shoot better than we did, and we keep it in perspective.”
Rhodes was joined in the scoring by Amber Mariano (115), Lauren Mariano (118) and Ashlyn Arrington (123) in one of the more consistent team efforts in district play.
For the third season in a row, the individual champion was Saddlebrook’s Lauren Riehle. The senior shot 77 last season, but on a windy afternoon this time around carded 72. One of the best around, she placed 37th in the state in her last attempt and is looking to improve on that showing.
Nina Hwang (80), who came into the tournament averaging 37 for nine holes this season, also advanced as an individual for Saddlebrook, joining her teammate.
Academy at the Lakes, which hosted the tournament, was able to advance the last competitor of the tournament with Ellen Crowley coming in third place, shooting 101. Last season, Crowley shot 84 to help lead her team to the district title.
“The wind was brutal today,” Academy at the Lakes coach Peggy Crowley said. “It made the course so much harder than anything these girls have played all year.”