Senior Miriam Hagg of Warsaw watches as her ball rolls to the hole. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Senior Miriam Hagg of Warsaw watches as her ball rolls to the hole. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Hope became reality Saturday for the Wawasee Lady Warriors.

Their hope was to advance to the regional.

It became reality in the form of a second-place finish in the eight-team girls golf sectional at Stonehenge.

The top three teams, as well as the top three individuals not on an advancing team, qualified for Saturday's regional at Noble Hawk Golf Links in Kendallville.

NorthWood was the class of the field, winning the team title with a four-player score of 341, followed by Wawasee (368), Bremen (371), Warsaw (376), Plymouth (397), Rochester (405), Triton (436) and Whitko (447).

“That's outstanding,” Wawasee coach Steve Coverstone said of qualifying for the regional. “Great effort by the girls. I think we were all under 100, which is something we try to do.

“We try to be in the 40s, at least four of them, and we got all five in the 40s per nine (holes) today. We're real happy.”

Belle Brunner led the Lady Warriors with an 88, while Tate Cowan carded a 90, Jadison Rostochak 93, Taylor Cripe 97 and Lesley Tayagua 98.

Coverstone was excited to see the 90 out of Cowan, who split time this season with both the JV and varsity squads, and who the veteran coach said has played well as of late.

“She hits a lot of good shots, and she can go either way, but the last three or four weeks she's made up a ton of ground on the team to move her way up,” said Coverstone. “She did great.”

Rochester's Kristianna Lingenfelter earned medalist honors with her even-par round of 71.

She beat runner-up Abby Slabaugh of NorthWood by 11 strokes.

Joining Lingenfelter as advancing individuals are Lakeland Christian Academy's Abigail Fishel (88) and Warsaw's Grayson Kilburn (92).

“I'm super excited,” said Fishel, who plays each match as an individual as LCA doesn't have enough players for a team. “I'm really happy with this year, and I'm looking forward to the regional.”

Kilburn, a junior and the only non-senior in Warsaw's lineup Saturday, was the silver lining on an otherwise disappointing day for the host Lady Tigers.

“It's good for her,” Warsaw coach Tad Nieter said of Kilburn. “She went to the regional last year (with the team), the year before she wasn't on varsity, but it'll be great exposure for her to help lead. Next year we'll have two seniors, but to be able to lead the younger girls and show them what it's like is huge for us.”

Miriam Hagg carded a 93 for Warsaw, while Izzy Ray shot 94, Julia Hildebrand 97 and Madelyn Ray 98.

“It was a tough day,” said Nieter. “I had a good feeling coming in, but it's just one of those things with golf. It's been our M.O. all season ... we're very inconsistent, and we picked the wrong day to be inconsistent.”

Madeline Ritchison led Triton with a 98, while Guinny Garr paced Whitko with a 99.

To go along with Slabaugh's runner-up score of 82, NorthWood's Cybil Stillson finished third individually at 83. Mackenzie Weaver shot 85 for the Lady Panthers, while Delaney Davis and Kirsten Schrock finished with 91s.

NorthWood coach Adam Yoder, whose team has won seven straight Northern Lakes Conference titles, was happy to hold the hardware after losing to Bremen last year on a fifth-player tiebreaker.

“If you go back and look at the last six years, we're 15 shots away from this being six in a row,” said Yoder. “We lost by two six years ago, Wawasee played outstanding three years ago, and then last year we didn't play very well and Bremen did, and they deserved it. But yeah, this is very satisfying.

“The girls were a little nervous in the sense that they knew the target was on their back. It's hard when you're the big favorite not to go out and screw things up. They did a good job of balancing that, and I'm super happy for Abby Slabaugh.

“We were just really solid. We had a few big numbers here and there. We didn't make any birdies, but we also played extremely smart, too, and that's what we had to do to get the win, and that's what the girls wanted. They didn't just want to qualify for the regional, they wanted to win the sectional, and we thought that was a good accomplishment to put a feather in their cap going into next week.”



WARSAW SECTIONAL

(Stonehenge, par 71)

Note – top 3 teams, as well as top 3 individuals not on an advancing team, qualify for the regional.

Team Scores – NorthWood 341, Wawasee 368, Bremen 371, Warsaw 376, Plymouth 397, Rochester 405, Triton 436, Whitko 447

Medalist – Kristianna Lingenfelter (Roch) 71

Advancing Individuals – Kristianna Lingenfelter (Roch) 71, Abigail Fishel (LCA) 88, Grayson Kilburn 92

NorthWood – Abby Slabaugh 82, Cybil Stillson 83, Mackenzie Weaver 85, Delaney Davis 91, Kirsten Schrock 91

Wawasee – Belle Brunner 88, Tate Cowan 90, Jadison Rostochak 93, Taylor Cripe 97, Lesley Tayagua 98

Warsaw – Grayson Kilburn 92, Miriam Hag 93, Izzy Ray 94, Julia Hildebrand 97, Madelyn Ray 98

Whitko – Guinny Garr 99, Bailey Wright 110, Erin Starkweather 116, August Garr 122, Lilly Owsley 137

Triton – Madeline Ritchison 98, Samantha Edington 104, Alysha May 110, Delanie Groves 124