By Timothy L. Hudak
Sports Heritage Specialty Publications
4814 Broadview Rd.
Cleveland, Ohio 44109
Girls golf is the most recent of the sports to be added to the state tournament list, this happening in 1993. However, girls in many parts of the state were participating in interscholastic golf long before this, and some were doing quite well. The most notable of these early successes was achieved by the girls golf team from Ursuline High School in Youngstown. From 1980-1983, the Ursuline girls ran off 53 consecutive matches without a defeat (52-0-1), including 44 consecutive victories. Both of these marks currently rank fifth in the nation.
Even though this may be the youngest of the state tournaments, girls golf certainly does not lack for tough competition and excitement. While there have been no ties in the team competition, there have been some very close scores. One of the more notable of these occurred on 1999, when Ursuline Academy of Cincinnati edged out Toledo St. Ursula by just three strokes, 692-695, with Dublin Coffman coming in a close third with a score of 699. On the other hand, in 2005, Jerome High School of Dublin crushed the field with a team score of 695, a full 26 strokes ahead of Cincinnati’s St. Ursula Academy. In addition to their victory, by winning the girls team competition in 2005, Jerome High School also scored a first in state tournament golf by becoming the only school to ever win both the girls and the boys (Div. I) state titles in the same year.
The individual competition among the girls at the state level may be even more intense, and close, than the team competition. In 1999, Gabby Wedding of Wilmington High School took medalist honors by defeating Katie Redeker of Hathaway Brown School (Shaker Heights) in a playoff. The next year, Ms. Wedding found herself in another playoff for medalist honors, her opponent being Romi Irons (what a great golf name) from Dublin’s Coffman High School. This time luck was not with Gabby, and Ms. Irons won the playoff and medalist honors.
In 2002, sophomore Carly Truit of Marysville High School squeaked by Middletown’s Carling Coffing by a single stroke, 150-151 to claim medalist honors. The following year Ms. Truit again took medalist honors, but it would take a two-hole playoff victory over sophomore Emma Jandel of Dayton Oakwood to secure the victory. In winning her second consecutive medalist title, Ms. Truit became only the second girl to do so, the first being Jessica Belskis of Worthington Kilbourne High School, who accomplished the feat in 1994 and 1995.
Carly Truit and Emma Jandel were both back in the state tournament in 2004, Truit going for an unprecedented third straight title. She again had a close match with Emma Jandel, beating her by a single stroke, 154-155. But that 154 score would not be good enough to give Ms. Truit her third straight medalist title. That honor went to senior Kathleen Ekey of Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls), who blistered the course for a two-round score of 146.
Persistence often pays off, and in her third state tournament it did just that for Emma Jandel, as she finally grabbed medalist honors with a 153 in 2005, three strokes better than Kelsey Lindenschmidt of Cincinnati Ursuline. Ms. Jandel’s story does not quite end here, however. Dayton Oakwood does not have a girls golf team, other than Emma, so she had to play her high school golf on the boys team. Not only did she play on the boys team, but she was good enough to be named the team captain. The week before winning medallist honors Ms. Jandel also won another honor, that of being named the Oakwood Homecoming Queen. Not a bad two weeks in the life of a high school senior.
For those of you who like the Fighting Irish of “Notre Dame,” that name is quite prominent in the girls golf tournament. Toledo’s Notre Dame Academy (1993-96-98) and Cincinnati’s Mt. Notre Dame Academy (2002-03) have between them won five of the 13 state titles in girls golf. The schools run by the Ursuline nuns of Cincinnati can also claim a few championships, two for St. Ursula Academy (1994-97) and one for Ursuline Academy (1999).
With the intense competition that this tournament has thus far displayed, there appear to many exciting tournaments yet to be played in the years ahead by the lady linksters of Ohio’s high school ranks.