BROOKSVILLE — In between a rain shower and some slow greens, there was a neck-and-neck race for the individual Class A, District 8 title at Rivard Golf & Country Club on Monday evening.
Nature Coast’s Kae Elliot (5-over 77) emerged with a two-stroke victory over Bishop McLaughlin’s Brooke Dalton (7-over 79), but it was an interesting match. Elliot was making her final district appearance as a senior, never having won a title, while Dalton has been stellar in her freshman campaign. Playing in a foursome with Hernando’s Eugenia Urso and Pasco’s Kaylee Britton, the tandem went back-and-forth most of the round.
Dalton scored the first birdie of the round on the par-5 13th, one of Rivard’s more difficult layouts. The Hurricanes phenom made the green in two shots and had an eagle opportunity before tapping in for birdie.
Consistency was key to Elliot’s win. Her solid performance led the way for the Sharks (396) to emerge as team champion after placing second to Pasco last season. Cassidy Verdi (99), Madeline Pickersgill (107), Katelyn Glynn (113) and Taylor Zack (121) will join Elliot as she heads to the region tournament at the Black Bear Golf Club in Eustis.
Hernando (421) was runnerup with Urso as the team’s top placer. The junior carded 88 to pace the Leopards. The rest of her teammates will join her at region including Lauren Moore, Alexis Owensby, Taylor Milligan and Ainsley Halliday.
Crystal River (427) placed third. The top three individuals not among the top three teams also qualify for region.
Dalton took the first of those positions with her runnerup finish, and teammate Hannah DeBella-Stodden will be making her second consecutive trip after carding 99, four strokes better than last season. The final player to get in was Pasco’s Britton (101). Britton’s teammate, Ashtyn Schlidt (107), narrowly missed qualifying.
Boys stuck in three-way tie: The results of the boys A-8 tournament at The Dunes Golf & Country Club could not be concluded because of a three-way tie atop the team standings.
The teams, including Nature Coast, Dunnellon and Hernando, will have a one-hole playoff today.
The individual qualifiers were set, those who advance outside of those teams. Weeki Wachee’s Michael Rampino was among those who will make the trip.
2A-5: Central senior delivers her best
OCALA — Central senior Stephanie Rodney stepped up big at the Class 2A, District 5 girls golf tournament.
Rodney fired an 18-hole 73 as she tied with Lake Minneola’s Kaite Holt for medalist honors at Pine Oaks Golf Club.
“I was pretty happy about it,” Rodney said.
Rodney finished third the past two years at districts, but put it all together to tie for the top spot Monday.
“I just tried to stay focused and not worry about my competition,” Rodney said. “I played a practice round here and it’s nothing like the Dunes.
“I liked how the course (at Pine Oaks) was pretty open.”
Springstead’s team will join Rodney at next week’s regional at the Ocala Golf Club.
The Eagles finished second overall with a team score of 367, 27 shots behind champion Ocala Forest, which claimed its first team title since 1995.
Megan Berube, the defending 2A-5 district champion, finished fourth overall after firing 79.
“These girls work well together,” Springstead coach Kathleen Long said. “They shot better than their average today. They are amazing.”
In the boys tournament at Silver Springs Shores, Springstead’s Ryan Nicol fired 73 to earn medalist honors.
Nicol’s round helped the Eagles finish in a tie with Zephyrhills and Citrus for fourth place with team scores of 336, but neither school advanced as Ocala Vanguard earned the last spot by one shot.
For the Bulldogs, Cory Bahr fired 80 to earn one of three region spots for golfers whose teams didn’t advance.
The region meet is Monday at Ocala Golf Club.
A-9: Fivay girls repeat narrow win
SAN ANTONIO — For the second straight season, the Fivay girls were just one stroke better than the runnerup in the Class A, District 9 tournament. Who knows what might have happened had the third-year school had a team in its first year.
The two-time district champion Falcons edged Gulf 452-453 at the Tampa Bay Golf Club. Last season, they narrowly beat Wesley Chapel.
“I’m glad that we could keep the status quo,” Fivay first-year coach Josh Peterson said.
Amber Mariano led the Falcons with a round of 107 on the par-72 course. Teammate Taylor Rhoades scored 111 while Samantha Dehner and Lauren Mariano each shot 117.
Gulf’s Sarah Usewick finished at 99 and was followed by teammates Alexis Beucler (104), Emily Couch (120) and Amanda Beucler (130).
Wesley Chapel, paced by Hana Lee’s 88, took third at 510. Ridgewood, Academy at the Lakes and Anclote did not have enough players to field a team.
Mallory Etcheberry, AATL’s lone golfer, became the second individual medalist from that school. The senior, who has committed to the University of Akron (Ohio), had four birdies to finish at 77 to join Alexis Irish, who medaled at districts in 2008.
“The greens were in good shape and it was more about course management than hitting (the ball) as far as you can,” Etcheberry said.
“It’s great to represent the AATL, especially since I’m the only girl.”
A-9: Falcons boys pleased with runnerup finish
TARPON SPRINGS — Fivay didn’t feel much like celebrating after its last big tournament — a disappointing sixth-place finish at last week’s Sunshine Athletic Conference meet.
So after moving onto regionals with a runnerup finish at Monday’s Class A, District 9 tournament, the boys planned on hitting up Buffalo Wild Wings.
“I think they really wanted to win this one,” Falcons coach Richard Bynum said with the second-place trophy tucked under his arm. “They knew it meant something. It meant moving on.”
And Fivay rose to the challenge, placing second behind Saddlebrook Prep, which had four golfers shoot under 80 to dominate with 298.
Saddlebrook’s Won Jun Lee took individual medalist honors with 1-under 71. Teammates Joe He (73) and Ryoto Furuya (75) had the next best overall scores.
Fivay’s Jake Schoonover continued a strong season by tying for third place with 3-over 75. Nick Piro (87), Shawn Fluke (89) and Mickey McPhee (92) also had strong showings.
Hudson also qualified for regionals by shooting 349 — six strokes behind Fivay. Mitchell Campbell tied Schoonover with 75, followed by Andrew Nardozzi (88), Chad Batdorf (91) and Will Watson (95).
Wesley Chapel finished fourth (357), with Turner Imhoff’s 81 and Noah Fleck’s 82 sending them to the next round as individuals. Teammate Corey Mumaw and Gulf’s Alex Walker shot 89s.
The Buccaneers finished fifth as a team (372), followed by Academy at the Lakes (388), Anclote (540) and Ridgewood, which had only two competitors.
Staff writer Matt Baker and correspondents Richard Burton and Steve Lee contributed to this report.