Facing rainy, gloomy conditions Wednesday in the Division III sectional at Riverview Golf Course, John F. Kennedy stepped up its game yet again this season, shooting a 311 to easily win the event by 17 shots over runner-up Mogadore.
"Very satisfying today," Kennedy coach Jim St. George said. "I was pretty confident with the team coming in, with the inclement weather a good test of their mental fortitude. I felt the kids played very well in that atmosphere. Riverview did an outstanding job in getting the course in shape. My guys went 1-2-3 and my five guy stepped up today. Daniel Lapolla stepped up and shot 85. I'm very proud of Daniel in his first sectional tournament.
"Our goal is always to shoot 320, so to shoot nine under our goal in those conditions was really good."
The Eagles took the top three spots in the individual scoring, with medalist Ryan Fowler shooting a one-under par 71, Billy Phillips with a 77 and James Lapolla with a 78.
"Ryan is a very consistent player," St. George said. "Nothing seems to bother him. He made some good par-saving putts today. To shoot under par in those conditions shows a lot of adversity on his part. Only four people broke 80 in the tournament today and three of our guys were among them. I'm proud of Billy and James, who also were able to break 80 in those conditions.
"It was definitely a total team effort with Daniel Lapolla really contributing. That's what makes a team to have the five man step up."
Also advancing to the district tournament was Mineral Ridge, which shot a 347. The top three individuals not on qualifying teams who advanced were Steve Gill of Lordstown, with a 78, plus Western Reserve's Payton Snyder (81) and Stephen Politano of McDonald (84).
Kennedy, Mogadore and Mineral Ridge advance to the district tournament, which will be held Thursday, Oct. 4 at Seven Hills Country Club in Hartville.
After finishing the regular season with a record of 11-3 in dual matches and 69-10 in invitationals, St. George feels Kennedy will be one of the teams to beat.
"It's a tougher stage," he said. "Us, Gilmour Academy and St. Thomas Aquinas seem to be the favorites. Only two teams and two individuals will go but we plan on being one of them."
Also on Wednesday, the Lakeview girls golf team set a new standard for itself by shooting 356 to edge out Hubbard by four shots in the Division II sectional at Pine Lakes.
The Bulldogs advance to the district tournament, which will be held Tuesday at Tam O'Shanter's Hills Course in Canton. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams will advance to state.
"It feels pretty special," said Lakeview coach Mike Turco, who led his team to a 10-7 record in the regular season. "This is the first Lakeview team that has ever won a sectional tournament. I'm proud to be a part of it."
Sophomore Ryan Rosenberger led Lakeview with an 80 on the par-73 Pine Lakes course. Kaylee Neumeister shot an 83, while Lizzy Konitsney had a 95 and Nikki Bradley finished with a 98.
"I'm very proud of the girls today," Turco said. "I had a sophomore step up and shoot her career low with an 80. She shot lights out. She hit some long putts today in some grueling weather. She really stepped up to help us win a lot. The biggest part of that was in her putting.
"Kaylee is always a competitior. She came out and shot 83 for us. Even the other girls, Nikki and Lizzy, they shot right where I expected them. This team today reached their full potential, which I've been waiting for most of the season. They did it on the right day. It was a tough field. We are always competitive with Hubbard. They played well today. It took everything my girls had to do what they did. Poland was there and they're always a tough competitor. They've been to state how many times."
Melinda Hannon of Poland and Hubbard's Gina DePasquale were the co-medalists, each shooting 79. The four individual qualifiers were Brittany Schneider of South Range (84), Ashley Lydic of Champion (95), Rachel Marchese of Struthers (96) and Mooney's Cait Butler (98). Poland (367) and Salem (412) were the other team qualifiers.
Turco gave his assessment of Tam O'Shanter's Hills Course. The top three teams and top three individuals from the district tournament will advance to state.
"It has a lot of elevation changes," he said. "It's a bit similar to Pine Lakes in yardage but the girls will have to manage this course even better than Pine Lakes. It'll be a different day. The girls will have to go out and do it again and start over. The competition will be much stiffer in districts."