Corydon Central golfers advance to the regional
Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]
A year ago, the Corydon Central girls’ golf team fell about as short as any team could in sectional action. As the match concluded, the Lady Panthers finished in fourth place, missing a regional bid to Jeffersonville by a mere three strokes, 407-410.
Fast forward to Saturday, where a reloaded Panthers’ squad, led by freshman standout Emma Rowland, sought redemption in this year’s sectional at Old Capital Golf Course in Corydon. Powered by Rowland’s 2-under 70 that won her the individual sectional title, the Lady Panthers finished third with a team score of 371. Rowland’s victory in individual play also makes her the first individual sectional champion in program history.
“I thought I got off to a good, fast start,” Rowland said. “At first, I wasn’t really paying attention to the score because I don’t like to do that. As the match went on, I had to start focusing on what I needed to score.”
Rowland’s historic feat was followed by a strong performance from her teammates. The senior trio of Chloe Cannon, Ivy Smith and Gracelyn Anderson had solid showings in their own right, finishing their final sectional with scores of 94, 101 and 106, respectively. Junior Abby Russel rounded out the Lady Panthers with a 126.
The biggest challenge to Rowland’s quest for the individual title was fellow freshman Paige Giovenco of Floyd Central, who competed in Rowland’s group. After the first nine holes, Giovenco actually led Rowland by two strokes, 36-38. Rowland pulled away from Giovenco once they ventured through the last nine holes, needing more than four strokes per hole only once to secure her place in Lady Panthers’ history.
“It was crazy because I’ve never beaten (Giovenco),” Rowland said. “I was not expecting it at all. I was just going in to just try to make it out to regionals. I wasn’t expecting to do what I did, but it was definitely great.”
While Rowland did everything she could to help the Lady Panthers advance to regional, it wasn’t enough to secure the team title. That honor went to Floyd Central, which retained its grip on the team crown for the ninth consecutive season. The Lady Highlanders were virtually dominant throughout the day, finishing with a team score of 302. Four Lady Highlanders finished the day with fewer than 80 strokes, with three finishing behind Rowland in the top five.
Leading the way for the Lady Highlanders was Giovenco with. She was followed by sophomore Trinity Bramer’s 74, freshman Chloe Cook’s 77, senior Audrey Giovenco’s 79 and senior Sophie Cook’s 86. Interestingly, the Lady Highlanders’ team score matched the school record they set earlier this season, which came at the Culver’s Classic at Old Capital just four weeks earlier.
Finishing between the Lady Highlanders and Lady Panthers was New Albany with a collective 332, led by Sarah Jefferson’s 77 and Kennedy Lee’s 78.
While not as strong of a showing, Saturday was a historic day for the Lanesville Lady Eagles, who were competing in sectional for the first time in program history. They finished eighth with a collective 494. As she had all season, senior Emma Campbell led the way for the Lady Eagles, recovering from a rough start to post a respectable 106. Sophomore Kayla Cain and freshmen Katarina Riggle and Ariana Messina followed Campbell with scores of 121, 131 and 136, respectively. Sophomore Ella Grossman rounded out the Lady Eagles’ first-ever golf sectional with a 140.
Saturday marked the end of the maiden voyage for the Lady Eagles’ golf team. Despite not finding post-season glory, the Lady Eagles are in good position for the near future. Aside from Campbell, the Lady Eagles are expected to return their entire roster in 2022, with this year’s unprecedented turnout a sign that the program may grow quicker than anticipated.
“I am so excited for the future of Lanesville girls’ golf knowing that I was a big part of the first-ever team and making history at Lanesville,” Campbell said. “I am certain for our future and hope that more girls can appear next season and improve more than we did.”
The only school to not field a complete team was North Harrison. Despite this, sisters Olivia and Isabelle Abner competed as individuals, finishing with scores of 130 and 135, respectively.
Alongside the Lady Highlanders, Lady Bulldogs and Lady Panthers, the top three golfers from non-advancing schools qualified for regional individually. That trio consists of Jeffersonville sophomore Laken Tetley (80), Silver Creek senior Jacy Stricker (82) and Providence sophomore Claire Cassis (92).
After an extra week of practice, this group will represent the local area Saturday in the Washington Regional at Country Oaks Golf Club in Montgomery. This competition will be a daunting task as it also includes teams that advanced from the sectionals in Bedford North Lawrence, Bloomington North, Evansville Memorial, Jasper and North Knox. This will be the Lady Panthers’ first regional appearance as a team since 2018.
“We played this course at the beginning of the year, and we shot a 383, which is the best we shot there in the last few seasons,” Lady Panthers’ head coach Eric Rowland said.
“We got another weekend to play, and we’re excited about that. We’re hoping Emma can throw up a special score and maybe go to state.”
According to sectional officials at the coaches’ meeting prior to the start of the event, spectator carts will not be available at regional due to multiple incidents at last year’s event. Tee time is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.
Team Scores (Top 3 advance to regional):
1. Floyd Central 302 (Paige Giovenco 72, Trinity Bramer 74, Chloe Cook 77, Audrey Giovenco 79, Paige Cook 86)
2. New Albany 332 (Sarah Jefferson 77, Kennedy Lee 78, Elizabeth Bogdon 85, Abigail Reavis 92, Madison Daniel 95)
3. Corydon Central 371 (Emma Rowland 70, Chloe Cannon 94, Ivy Smith 101, Gracelyn Anderson 106, Abby Russel 126)
4. Jeffersonville 414 (Laken Tetley 80, Chloe Ortuno 103, Paige Means 115, Lauren Monroe 116, Katie Monroe 117)
5. Silver Creek 436 (Jacy Stricker 82, Lana Dobson 111, Dev Wilkerson 117, Lydia Wright 126, Mariana Howard 136)
6. Providence 439 (Claire Cassis 92, Savannah Gohmann 112, Catherine Pfeiffer 116, Kadie O’Bannon 119, Abby Shavers 123)
7. Borden 481 (Emily Cissel 106, Grace Genty 119, Emily Schottelkotte 122, Lily Lynch 134)
8. Lanesville 494 (Emma Campbell 106, Kayla Cain 121, Katarina Riggle 131, Ariana Messina 136, Ella Grossman 140)
9. Clarksville 514 (Summer Neal 117, Emily Kaiser 126, Leslie North 132, Anna Horvath 139)
North Harrison: No Team Score (Olivia Abner 130, Isabelle Abner 135)
Regional qualifiers from non-advancing teams: Laken Tetley (Jeff) 80, Jacy Stricker (SC) 82, Claire Cassis (Prov) 92; ALT: Chloe Ortuno (Jeff) 103.