Reflecting on the 2019 season, Stow-Munroe Falls girls golf coach Scott Rorabaugh related plenty of positives.
"This was probably our best season in program history," Rorabaugh said. "Coach Joe Denton and I have built up this program a lot in the last few years. After missing out on districts last year, we wanted to prove something."
Stow proved it belonged at the Division I district tournament, which Rorabaugh noted may have been Stow’s first district berth as a team.
However, the ride ended for the Bulldogs Tuesday at Ellsworth Meadows Golf Club.
Stow finished 10th in the 16-team field at Ellsworth with a score of 369. The top four teams at districts qualified for the state tournament.
Massillon Jackson won the district title with 334, while Green (336), North Canton Hoover (340) and Kent Roosevelt (343) also qualified for state.
"The course was playing very difficult," Rorabaugh said. "It was a longer course than usual and the wind was picking up. There were some tough green placements.
"I think we all knew we would have to be at our very, very best to qualify for states," he added. "We’re a bit disappointed with the scores. It happens."
As they had at sectionals, "The Ellies" led Stow, but this time it was sophomore Ellie Ryan who finished with the Bulldogs’ best round of 84.
"She was driving the ball very well today," Rorabaugh said. "We started on the back. She actually shot 40 on the back."
Junior No. 1 golfer Ellie McCoy struggled a bit, as she shot 89.
"Her iron game was off today," Rorabaugh said. "She wasn’t putting herself in good positions. She Improved throughout the day.
Stow also got rounds of 98 from senior Olivia Balawender and freshman McKenzie Ickes, while senior Abbey Staats shot a round of 99.
"We struggled with the difficulty of the course and the greens," Rorabaugh said. "We hung in there. We just couldn’t get it done.
"We expected to play better," he added. "I knew we would need to be at our absolute best to advance. We played with Kent and Green, two teams who advanced, so I think we learned about what we needed to do to get to that level."
Stow will say goodbye to Balawender and Staats, both of whom are multi-year varsity starters.
"They’re wonderful young ladies, assets to our program," Rorabaugh said. "They contributed a lot. They were great leaders this year. I was proud to coach them the last four years."
With three starters returning, Rorabaugh said he hopes to continue the upward trend for the program.
"Looking back three years ago, would I have expected this group to have the success they’ve had this year? I’m not sure," said Rorabaugh. "I knew there was potential there. It goes to the hard work they’ve put in. We’re going to put in more over the offseason.
"The ones that our coming back. are hungry," he said.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_GHO