Centerville girls win state golf championship by 1 shot

Saturday was finally Centerville’s day.

The Elks broke through to win the Division I state girls golf championship Saturday in their eighth straight trip to the Ohio State Gray Course.

And it went to the wire.

The Elks’ four scorers played the final three holes in 2-over par to rally to a one-stroke victory over Dublin Jerome, 613-614. Jerome led by one after each player had completed 15 holes but played the final three at 4-over par.

The live scoring app allows for tracking of the tournament, but the scores were so close that no one wanted to take anything for granted until the results became official.

“I don’t think it’s really sunk in quite yet,” said Elks senior Morgan Rodgers, who played in her fourth state tournament. “But when they wrote the scores on the board, I was so excited, the team was so excited. I’m really proud of all of the hard work that everyone’s put in. Ultimately, this is the goal.”

The Elks, making their 18th state appearance, last won in 1995. They finished third in 2015 and two shots behind the winner, third again in 2018 and 2020 and fourth last year. They are the first team outside the Central District to win state since 2010.

“I’m just very happy for the girls,” coach Mike Dalton said. “It feels almost like a culmination from 2015 to now and we had several ex-players here. It’s where we’ve been trending, and to actually do it was as a bonus to be honest.”

The Elks shared the first-round lead at 312 with four-time defending champion New Albany. Jerome, which owns a state-record six titles, was two shots back. The Elks knew it would take a better day Saturday, and it took a 301 because Jerome shot 300. New Albany fell off the pace with a 309 to finish third at 621.

“It was a big opportunity today because there wasn’t a team that was going to run away with it,” Dalton said. “We all had a chance.”

Rodgers led the Elks with a 4-over-par 74 Saturday for a two-day total of 11-over 151 to finish eighth and earn second-team all-state.

Sophomore Brigid Nickell and senior Leeann Harker finished at 153 to tie for 12th. Nickell also shot 74 Saturday and Harker shot 75. Senior Sanjana Reddy supplied the crucial fourth score for the Elks with a 78 Saturday for a 159 total. Senior Alana Miller shot 83 Saturday for a 161 total.

Springboro shot 328, 22 strokes better than Friday, and moved up a spot to finish 10th in the 12-team field at 678. District champion sophomore Taylor Dunkle shot 80 to finish at 162 to lead the Panthers, who made their first appearance since 2015. Panthers junior Kinsley Brown shot 78 Saturday, followed by Danielle Stinson (85), Emily Pettigrew (85) and Morgan Meek (98).

Miamisburg’s Ally Turner shot 76 Saturday to finish at 159 in a tie for 22nd. Kylee Heidemann of Cincinnati Mercy McAuley shot 69 to come from behind and finish with 141 to win the individual title by two shots.

Division I boys: Springboro was two strokes better Saturday with a 335 to finish at 672 and tied for ninth with Massillon Jackson in the 12-team field on the OSU Scarlet Course. Leading Springboro on Saturday were Bradley Hinkel (81), Gavin Augenstein (82), Jack Rott (86) and Eian Cambria (86).

Bellbrook sophomore C.J. Scohy shot 85 to finish at 168.

Cleveland St. Ignatius shot 303 for a three-shot victory over Mason, which made a charge with a 294. Nick Piesen of Ignatius won the individual title by two shots with a 74 for a 148 total.

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