The Press Newspaper
Alyssa Shimel and Mikayla Young had different outlooks when it came to their chances of qualifying for this year's Division II girls state golf tournament.
On one hand you have Shimel, a senior at Eastwood who fully expected not only to qualify for her third state tournament, but to win medalist honors.
"Alyssa has just as good a shot as anybody to win," Eastwood coach John Cavendish said. "I'm sure she'll be disappointed if she doesn't do that. I know she's going down there to win it."
Young, a junior who helped Eastwood's girls bowling team win the state title last March, qualified to her first state golf tournament by winning a one-hole playoff at last week's district tournament.
"I didn't really think of going to state for golf," Young said. "I never expected it. I thought maybe we would go as a team, and that's it."
The Eagles missed qualifying for Friday and Saturday's state tournament by one stroke at the district at Sycamore Springs in Arlington. Eastwood shot 370 to finish tied with Lima Central Catholic for fourth place.
"They all performed great," Cavendish said. "I couldn't ask for a better performance out of them. One stroke ... it was no fault of anyone. Sure, they all went home after that and went through their round. Everybody had at least one three-putt. Huron shot 369, so somebody there saved a stroke and somebody on our team didn't. But, we played great."
The 2009 state tournament was held Friday and Saturday at Ohio State University's Gray Course.
At the district, Shimel shot a 2-over 74 to finish second behind medalist Yang Li, a senior from Maumee Valley Country Day. Young advanced with an 83 after winning a one-hole playoff.
"You never know with golf, but I was confident that Alyssa would perform up to her potential," Cavendish said. "Mikayla, it was very delightful that it happened for her."
At the end of 18 holes, Young was tied for the third individual top score necessary to qualify for the state tournament. She needed to beat a player from Lima Bath, so before the playoff started Shimel took her out to the putting green for support.
"I knew she would be nervous," Shimel said, "so I said I would go out with her. She is usually calmer with me than she is with her dad (Jay)."
Said Young, "She always tries to help me whenever I'm struggling. She supports what I do and she's always encouraging me. I told Alyssa I needed some help with putting because I hadn't been doing very well that day."
Young buried a 12-foot par putt to win the playoff for the right to join Shimel at the par-70 OSU Gray Course this week.
Shimel shot 156 at last year's state tournament and shot 154 at state as a freshman. The senior, who in June gave the University of Michigan a verbal commitment to play golf, has set her goals high for her final trip to the state tourney.
"I definitely want to win," Shimel said. "It's been a goal of mine ever since I've been in high school to win state. That's what I've been practicing for the last few weeks, to win state. The regular season was to fine-tune and stuff to compete. My full swing is starting to come together and my putting is a big improvement compared to last year. I'm real excited and looking forward to that.
"Last year I had a few three-putts and lip-outs and didn't make many eight-footers. I kind of let that get to me, but I've been practicing hard in the fall, mostly on my putting and short game."
Shimel said the score she shoots at state will likely depend on the weather.
"I really don't have a set score, but I always like to shoot one or two under par at the start of the day," she said. "I don't really know until I start my round what will be a realistic number for that day."
Young said her goal is to continue to play the way she has been playing and finish in the top 10.
"And," she added, "I want to have fun."
"I think she's going to play really well," Shimel said. "She is hitting the ball the best I've ever seen her hit it, especially her driver. I'm excited to see how she will play. I know she's excited."
Cavendish, a member of coach Mike Gardner's Eastwood boys golf team that played in the 1982 state tournament, said he has high expectations for both players.
"It's tremendous for both of them," he said. "You have a veteran going, someone who has been there twice. They're friends, too. They'll be able to bounce things off each other after the first round. Mikayla could finish really well if she plays well. They are two wonderful kids, on and off the course, and probably two of the hardest working girls I've ever had in all my years."
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