Stow girls golfers to look open another season strong on the links
Bulldogs look to repeat as National Conference champions
In 2019, coach Scott Rorabaugh led Stow-Munroe Falls girls golf into uncharted territory.
Not only did Stow score its first title in the Suburban League National Conference, but the Bulldogs reached Division I district tournament as a team for the first time.
This fall, Rorabaugh said the goals for Stow remain high
“Our No. 1 goal is to win the Suburban League the way we did last year,” Rorabaugh said. “It’s very competitive this year in girls golf in Northeast Ohio. We hope that we can peak at the right time come October.
While Stow lost varsity staters Olivia Balawender and Abbey Staats to graduation, the Bulldogs’ top three golfers return this season.
Early tournaments have shown the Bulldogs can compete.
Stow opened the season by winning the first Suburban League Tournament Aug. 6 at Gleneagles Golf Club in Twinsburg. Stow won the National Conference title with an 18-hole score of 348, five strokes ahead of runner-up Hudson.
“I thought we played pretty well the first time out. It’s only four or five day after we started practicing, but we played well, “Rorabaugh said.
Senior No. 1 golfer Ellie McCoy picked up where she left off. The defending National Conference golfer of the year took medalist honors at Gleneages with a round of 79.
“She played well there,” Rorabaugh said. “She had a couple mistakes and thought she could have shot in the mid-70s, but I’m not unhappy at all with what she did.”
Rorabaugh noted it could be “The Ellie and Eillie Show” again for the Bulldogs this fall, as junior Ellie Ryan is back in the No. 2 spot. Ryan took fourth at Gleneagles with a round of 84.
Sophomore Mackenzie Ickes is back in the starting lineup and shot a 93 at Gleneagles, but Rorabaugh is very high on freshman Gabriella Berlingieri, who shot 91 in her first high school tournament.
Rounding out Stow’s varsity squad are senior Cherylie Dave, who shot a 104 at Gleneagles and freshman Anna Hurst (116).
Stow then competed at the Lady Rider Invitation in Kent Aug. 8 at Twin Lakes Country Club and got a taste of how tough Northeast Ohio girls golf will be this fall.
In the PM Flight, Stow finished tied with Kent Roosevelt in sixth place with a score of 356. Massillon Jackson won the title with a 331.
“I would say the competition was that good,” Rorabaugh said. “That was a good tournament for us to just see where were at right now. Twin Lakes is definitely a more challenging course to play.”
McCoy led the Bulldogs with another round of 79, which was good for seventh place. Magnifcat’s Cara Hastercamp took medalist honors with a round of 72.
Berlingieri broke 90 for the first time with a round of 88, but Ryan (92) and Ickes (97) were unable to improve on their opening day scores. Dave finished with a round of 106.
Stow also participated in the Lady Explorer Invitational Monday at Forest Lake Country Club in Hudson.
Against a field of state powers, Stow finished ninth in the 15-team field with a round of 379. Green won with a round of 331.
McCoy earned a top 10 finish with a round of 83. Ryan finished with a 93, but Ickes (101), Berlingieri (102) and Dave (113) each failed to break 100.
The Bulldogs got back to Suburban League competition Wednesday with the second league tournament at Brookledge Golf Club in Cuyahoga Falls. Rorabaugh noted things didn’t go as well as the first tournament.
Stow finished third with a score of 354. Hudson won the National Conference with a round of 345, finishing two strokes ahead of runner-up Nordonia.
“We weren’t really at our best today,” Rorabaugh said. “I think Hudson and Nordonia got us today because they were playing with us.”
On the par-71 course, McCoy led Stow with a round of 81, but she needed to go two-under-par over the last three holes to make that score.
“We didn’t have our best day. By the end of the year, we should be back,” McCoy said. “You can’t be perfect all the time. On the front nine, I just missed some putts that I shouldn’t have. By the back nine, I was hitting more greens in regulation.”
McCoy finished one stroke off winning National Conference medalist honors, as Hudson’s Delany DiGeronimo and Sherry Du each shot rounds of 80.
Ryan shot a round of 87, but the highlight of the day for Stow Wednesday was a hole-in-one by Ickes on the par-three 14th hole. It was her second ace of the summer, as he finished with a round of 92.
Berlingieri and Dave each shot rounds of 94.
“Everybody was just a little bit off today, especially on the greens,” Rorabaugh said. “We know what we need to work on.”
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_GAN on Twitter