Wednesday’s meeting between the Alter and Chaminade Julienne high school girls golf teams will be their sixth this season. The Greater Catholic League Co-ed Division members hope their friendly rivalry doesn’t end there.
The Knights and Eagles enter the Division II district championships at Beavercreek’s Pipestone Golf Course as teams to watch. The top three teams and top three individuals (not on a qualifying team) advance to next week’s state tournament.
Alter’s team of seniors Colleen Werbrich and Megan Vosler, sophomore Maggie Pascual and freshmen Peyton Kuntz and Gabbie Houpt won the D-II sectional championship at WGC Golf Course in Xenia last Wednesday. Werbrich was medalist with 84.
CJ finished five shots back in second with seniors Blake Wogoman, Aryanna Sutton, Brooklyn Thompson, Karah Jackson and sophomore Lia-Sophie Keller.
“They like playing with the CJ and Carroll girls because they get to know the girls,” said Alter coach Katie Ellis. “They walk down the fairway together and they’re talking. That’s what it’s about; that they can enjoy playing with the other teams.”
CJ qualified for state in 2016, giving the Eagles their eighth trip since 2009. Alter, which has qualified for state six times since 2008, finished fourth last season to just miss returning.
Both will be in the hunt again Wednesday. Versailles, which won the sectional title at Stillwater Valley Golf Course last week, and Carroll are also among the favorites to qualify. Additional team qualifiers include Fort Loramie, Miami East, National Trail and Springfield Shawnee. Eaton senior Sarah Willis, the defending state champ, was the Stillwater medalist with 69.
“Anything can happen,” said CJ coach Todd Shuttleworth. “We’re confident going in the senior leadership is going to help us through the district. Blake and Aryanna have been leading us. Obviously it takes all five in a sectional or district, but those two have been there all year for us.”
As for Alter, Ellis credits senior leadership with forming a cohesive team that has surprised her with how well they’ve performed late in the season.
“They get along and we’re having fun this year,” Ellis said. “When you’re all seniors you kind of stick together and others sometimes get left behind. This year they’ve really included the freshmen. … When I drive the van to matches (Colleen) keeps everybody laughing. She’s a really neat young lady.”
Two Knights return from last season’s district team with Vosler and Pascual. Ellis said the team came into last season’s district meet a little overconfident and fell seven strokes shy of qualifying for state behind district champ Versailles, runner-up Carroll and CJ.
“I think they feel they can go to state if they play their game and relax,” Ellis said, adding that playing Pipestone is about playing bogey golf with a couple pars mixed in and maybe a birdie or two. “I tell them it’s about having fun, believing in yourself and believing in your team. … It will be a very pleasant surprise if we can make it to state. I will be thrilled with it and so will the girls.”
As for their head-to-head meetings, CJ won the GCL with Alter second. The Eagles have won three of the five meetings this season.
“It’s a friendly rivalry and I’m sure it’ll continue on Wednesday,” Shuttleworth said. “Our kids have probably played against each five or six times this year alone. We were all sitting around after the sectional waiting on the scores to come in and we were all talking.”
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