JACKSON — As the sport of girls golf continues to take flight throughout southeastern Ohio, the West High School Senators’ program became the very latest to make some history.
That’s because the Lady Senators —featuring the foursome of juniors Lexi Deaver, Charlie Jo Howard, Sydni Calihan and sophomore Sara Campbell — are the first team in the school’s history to qualify from the Division II sectional tournament, which took place on Monday at a sun-soaked Franklin Valley Golf Club.
And, the Senators didn’t just sneak into that fifth and final Southeast District tournament-qualifying spot either.
They shot a team total of 463, finishing fifth out of a dozen squads which fielded four players AND posted team scores —as the lowest four scores for any given club count towards the team total.
For West, it was simple.
As the top five teams and top five individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district meet, the Senators squarely solidified the fifth-place spot —between fourth-place Federal Hocking (449) and sixth-place Vinton County (489).
The Senators moved up four spots from ninth place a year ago —as their Southern Ohio Conference rival Minford took fifth for last season’s sectional.
Deaver and Calihan as sophomores and Campbell as a freshman from a year ago all returned to the unit this year —as Deaver, with a 44 on the Franklin Valley front side and a 48 on the back, captured medalist runner-up honors with a 92.
She tied Jordan Blaine of Gallia Academy, which coasted to the team championship by firing a 373.
Maddi Meadows, a Gallia Academy junior, carded an 85 for the match medalist.
A year ago, Deaver tied Ava Messer of South Webster with a 101 and placed ninth —as the sophomore Messer matched that number this year, and this time qualified as an individual.
More on Messer in a minute.
In addition to Deaver’s 92, Howard had a 99, Calihan a 129 and Campbell a 144.
Had the Lady Senators not qualified as a group, Deaver would have done so individually.
But she probably prefers playing on as a team, and a history-making West side squad at that.
“Playing for West years ago, which has a rich golf tradition, I was proud to tell them that they were the first girls team to make it to districts. I’ve had this same group for two years now, and they work hard at the game,” said West coach Charlie Cooper. “I’m just glad they live to fight another week. It was an honor to coach the first-ever girls team that’s advanced to the district tournament.”
As for Messer, who along with Deaver just missed qualifying for the district as a freshman, she has battled back from serious facial injuries suffered during softball season.
Only the top three teams and top three individuals advanced to the district meet in 2020, but Messer —who finished 15th on Monday with a 49 and a 52 for her 101 —managed six fewer strokes than 17th-place and Piketon sophomore Brynna Spencer.
The first four individual qualifiers were junior Jaya Booth of Vinton County (94), senior Carrington McGlothin of Peebles (95), sophomore Sidnea Belville of South Point (98) and sophomore Maggie Armstrong of Piketon (99).
Along with Messer, fellow sophomore Hunter Slack (121) competed for South Webster —while Valley was represented by sophomore Leah Abbott (118) and freshman Sydney Jones (139), and Minford by seniors Alaina McRoberts (163) and Kylie Pace (172).
Back to the team front, just how dominant were the Blue Angels?
They repeated as sectional champions, and had all five golfers — including their only senior in Abby Hammons — break 100.
Waterford was the runner-up at 419, followed by Wellston with a 442, Federal Hocking with a 449, and of course West with its 463.
Howard’s 99 tied Armstrong, Hammons and Addy Burke of Gallia Academy for 11th out of 71 golfers which teed off —AND played all 18 holes.
The back half of the 12-team field included Vinton County (489), Ironton (501), Alexander (506), Peebles (513), River Valley (536), Meigs (542) and Coal Grove (550).
A complete list of results can be found at www.baumspage.com.
The Lady Senators, and Messer, will now play in the 10-team and 10 other individuals Division II Southeast District tournament —which is set for Tuesday morning at Pickaway Country Club near Circleville.
Teeoff time is set for 9 a.m.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved