Heading into the season, Stow-Munroe Falls girl golf coach Scottie Rorabaugh thought his team had a chance to be special.
"We knew we had that opportunity this year," Rorabaugh said. "Four of the five girls were on the team last year. I think we knew could be good. I didn’t know how good. Our goal was to win the Suburban League."
In regard to the league title, it’s mission accomplished for the Bulldogs.
Stow put an exclamation point on its regular season by the winning the fourth and final Suburban League Tournament at Brookside Golf Club in Barberton Wednesday.
Stow won the National Conference with a team score 348, just one stroke off of its season best. Hudson finished second in the National Conference with 359 strokes.
With the win, Stow, which won the final three conference tournaments, claimed the outright title for National Conference. It’s Stow’s first league title in girls golf since 2013.
"It was a solid day," Rorabaugh said. "The course was very good. IT was pretty breezy for most of the round, but the girls the followed our game plan of keep the ball in play and don’t make any big mistakes."
As has been the case all season, junior Ellie McCoy led the Bulldogs – and she saved her best effort for the big tournament.
McCoy won medalist honors Wednesday at Brookside, as she put up a career-best 18-hole score of 78. For her efforts, McCoy was named the National Conference player of the year.
"She’s a hard worker. She puts the work in no matter what she does, be it in golf or basketball," Rohrabaugh said. "She has a very good short game. I would put her putting and wedge game against anyone. This year she developed some length off the tee as well."
Senior Olivia Balawender shot an 89 at Brookside Wednesday and was named first-team All National Conference.
"She’s always consistent," Rorabaugh said. "She’s one of those players that she doesn’t hit its all that far, but she puts it in play and doesn’t make any mistakes."
Sophomore Ellie Ryan also was named first-team all National Conference, despite having an off-day Wednesday. Ryan shot a 98 Brookside.
"She was a little off but our team picked her up," Rorabaugh said.
Ryan’s off day was offset by freshman McKenzie Ickes shattering career-best round by six strokes, as she finished with a round of 90. Senior Abigail Staats was right behind with a 91.
Senior Cherylie Dave shot a round of 110 for the Bulldogs Wednesday.
With the league title secured, Rorabaugh said Stow’s focus now is one advancing to districts after missing out by three strokes last year.
The Bulldogs have the advantage of starting the postseason on their home course, as the Division I sectional tournament will take place Oct. 2 at Fox Den Golf Club.
"Obvsiouly the girls are going to be comfortable playing on their home course," Rorabaugh said. "We’re definitely looking to play our best this season."
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_GHO