Story by Brad Bourniva
Patience and perseverance were the words of the day last week for Medina's girls golf team during its state-qualifying round at the Massillon Division I District.
Because the Bees were able to adhere the words of second-year coach Mickey McGrath
, they will head to Columbus on Friday and Saturday and erase a lengthy absence from the state tournament.
While individuals have made the trek down Interstate 71 South in years past, Medina, as a team, hasn't played at state since 2005.
That team finished 10th. This season's squad will try to better the placing this weekend at the Grey Course on the campus of Ohio State University.
"Fortunately I don't know how the drought feels," McGrath said. "I'm just glad I'm a part of a successful team.
"They were aware of it. They had aspirations last year and fell short. I don't look at it as a drought, I look at it as a successful attempt after missing out last year," McGrath said.
The team learned all about endurance last week after Megan Pollock
and Alyssa Drehs
, two of the best Bees on this year's squad, carded uncharacteristic 8-over-par 80s on the Legends of Massillon South and East Courses. But Nikki Sherman
pocketed an 84, and Medina was back in business.
When Mackenzie Debnar
registered a 91, Kathryn Cassidy
had a 97, but her score wasn't counted, Medina sat at 335. That put the Bees in fifth-place, the final team spot for this weekend's tournament, beating Green by one stroke.
"They learned that everybody gets their turn," McGrath said. "We've had some disappointments as far as missing by one or two strokes in some tournaments.
"But they said, 'Coach, we want to turn this around.' That's what they did. They knew they had to persevere and be patient and it worked."
What the finish also showed was that pressing and striving to beat the course isn't always necessary. Sometimes it's better to play within yourself to get things done and concentrate on every shot.
That's the attitude the Bees will take on the Par-70, 5,311-yard Gray Course this weekend as it adds another chapter to the 2014 season.
"They know they can score and place higher than anticipated," McGrath said. "Once you do it once, it's easy to keep doing it.
"Hopefully, they have a taste of what it takes. They've peaked at the right time. They'll be nervous on the front nine, but some of them are strong on the front, some are stronger on the back. That's been a part of our success," McGrath said.
It's not as if the Grey Course is completely green to all involved at Medina either.
Last season, Mindy Herrick
qualified as an individual. She has since moved to Florida, but Pollock and Drehs were among those in attendance to watch their teammate finish tied for 41st.
While they never picked up a club, Pollock and Drehs being at state as spectators should help when it counts this weekend, according to McGrath
"That was huge," McGrath said. "What they saw was how difficult it was to compete in that situation. They were in bad weather. They saw the conditions. They saw the golf course and they saw the putting greens.
"That opened their eyes up a lot. They know what to expect because they were there."
More on Massillon
Medina wasn't the only area success story. Avon Lake's Niki Schroeder
fired a one-under at the Legends of Massillon Golf Club to advance as an individual. Only Boardman's Jacinta Pikunas
was better at 70.
It's the fourth trip to state for the Shoregal as she battled tough conditions to advance.
In 2012, Schroeder finished runner-up at state to eventual Ohio State standout Jessie Porvasnik
of Highland. As a junior she finished ninth and as a junior she was tied for 10th.
North Ridgeville junior Nicole Gerome
carded her first trip to state by notching a 75 at Massillon as well. She did it by coming home on the back nine with five birdies.
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