What do the words "state champ" mean to Eastwood senior Alyssa Shimel?
"It means a lot,” Shimel said. "It's been a goal ever since I started high school and I finally achieved it. It's great."
On Oct. 16-17, at Ohio State University's Gray Course, Shimel became Eastwood's first state golf champion when she earned medalist honors at the Division II state tournament.
"She said she was going to win," Eastwood coach John Cavendish said.
Shimel, making her third trip to the state tournament, beat runner-up Morgan Ransom of Gahanna Columbus Academy by two strokes on the 5,560-yard, par 70 Gray Course. Shimel had a two-day total of 145, while Ransom's 147 matched her score from last year's tourney.
"It wasn't real emotional until I went over to give my dad (Jeff) a hug, and then it hit me that I had won," Shimel said. "He taught me how to golf at age 2. He started taking me to the range with him. He said he was so proud of me and just hugged me. It was kind of like all the pressure is off and I finally accomplished what I set out to do."
Eastwood junior Mikayla Young, making her first appearance at the state tournament, finished 35th with a 179 total. Twelve individuals and 60 girls on state-qualifying teams competed.
"Mikayla played very well," Cavendish said. "For any individual to get to the state championship is one thing, but to finish 35th in the state of Ohio is a remarkable feat. She played to the best of her ability. I'm so proud of both of them. Each athlete played to the best of their ability, and you can't ask for anything more than that."
Shimel shot 38-35—73 in Friday's opening round to tie Ransom for the early lead.
"I was proud with the first round," Shimel said. "I thought it put me in great position for the second day."
Shimel opened with a 37 on her first nine holes on Saturday, and closed with a 35 on the back nine for a 2-over 70.
"I tried to focus on one shot at a time," she said. "Don't let a bad shot get into your head because there are 18 holes. I wanted to just keep grinding it out and stay focused on what I needed to do."
Said Cavendish, "The first day was cold but it didn't rain, which was good. Alyssa shot 73, which was something I couldn't do. We told her and Mikayla both, you don't win it on the first day. You just want to put yourself in position.
On the second day, it was back and forth the whole time."
Shimel took a one-shot lead after the 15th hole in the second round and shot par on No. 16 to maintain her lead with two holes left.
"My main goal at the par-3 17th was to get to the green and get a two-putt par and focus on the shot I have in front of me," Shimel said. "I think I played well overall, but there were definitely some strokes I wish I could have had back. For the most part, I played decent."
Ransom bogeyed No. 17, while Shimel shot par to take a two-stroke lead heading into the 18th. Shimel, who will play at the University of Michigan next season, matched Ransom's par on 18 to clinch the title.
"She had just a big smile," Cavendish said. "She never does get real emotional about a win or a loss, but she was smiling really big. Her dad and I were choking back tears."