|'Jackets enjoying state opportunity (10-16-13)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 16 October 2013 09:38|
PERRYSBURG - Perrysburg's girls golf team is looking forward to competing in the Division I state tournament this weekend.
The Yellow Jackets are hoping it won't be their only trip to their sport's showcase event.
The team already is setting its sights on advancing to state the next two seasons.
Although the Yellow Jackets graduate senior standout and captain Monica Dorner, the other four players who will tee off this weekend are sophomores.
Perrysburg qualified for state by finishing second in last week's district tournament at Stone Ridge Golf Club.
The state tournament is Friday and Saturday at Ohio State University's Gray Course.
"We're focusing on playing as a team and enjoying every minute of this opportunity," Dorner said of the state tournament. "Getting to state is the biggest success for us. Now, we're just trying to have fun."
Joining Dorner in Perrysburg's state lineup are sophomores Katie Diehl, Madison Williams, Sonia Krolak and Macy Tudor. Of the team's top seven players, only two are seniors.
The Yellow Jackets have the second-youngest team of the 12 state qualifiers.
"We'll try to play our best and enjoy the experience, and use this to help our younger players," said Dorner, who led Perrysburg in the district tournament with an 86. "The past two years, we've gotten so much experience and that's only going to help us in the future."
Perrysburg is the first team from the Northern Lakes League to qualify for the state tournament, which began in 1993.
"Once you do it the first time, you have the confidence you can do it again," said Perrysburg coach Rick Rettig, who is in his ninth season. "There were a lot of question marks going into districts, can we do this? Now that we've done it once, it removes the question marks and doubts, and allows them to get all that thinking out of their minds. They just have to perform.
"Hopefully, we can keep getting down there and hopefully compete to get into the top 10 and maybe higher than that."
Perrysburg has played consistently well this season, which began with the goal of qualifying for state and winning the Northern Lakes League title.
The Yellow Jackets won their second NLL championship and then advanced to state by finishing third in their sectional and second in their district.
They'll play a practice round on the state course Thursday.
Perrysburg's district total of 360 was the highest of the state qualifiers, although its best this season is 330.
"We're playing some of the best golf we have all year right now and we'll work on our game in practice this week, so we're ready," Diehl said. "Hopefully, we'll do our best at state. State was our goal at the start of the season, but as the team has improved during the season, it became more and more of a realistic goal."
Even though the four sophomores have played important roles in the Yellow Jackets' success, Dorner is the leader.
Diehl should break Kendall Tudor's 18-hole record for average score in a season, regardless of what happens this weekend. Dorner's average is 80.12, while Tudor averaged 83.75 in 2011.
Dorner already holds every other school record, including Perrysburg's season nine-hole average. She is averaging 40.3 this season after setting the record last season at 41.3.
"She's the best golfer in Perrysburg history," Rettig said.
But as well as Dorner has played on the course, she's been just as effective as captain. She also has a 3.71 grade-point average.
"She's created a family atmosphere that almost every championship team has," Rettig said. "She's brought everyone together. She's earned every accolade she's gotten this year.
"She's set the bar very high," Rettig added. "Every sophomore has a responsibility to step up to their captain's reputation and what is so cool is the sophomores all want that. Monica can take a lot of pride in that. She's been a key component in helping their desire to succeed and the sophomores are pushing each other to get better."
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