Ault, Mellott make all-TRC team, help Valley take 2nd behind Maconaquah at TRC tournament
Rochester finishes 5th behind all-conference players Thomas, Moore
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
HUNTINGTON –- The Tippecanoe Valley girls golf team won the Three Rivers Conference title in 2020.
With the same five players back, they improved their conference score by 18 strokes one year later on the same Maple Grove Golf Course.
Unfortunately, Valley had to put on a brave face and hand it to the Lady Braves as Maconaquah won the conference title with a 338.
Valley was second with a 364, and Rochester was fifth with a 394.
Valley’s Lily Ault and Kaydence Mellott and Rochester’s Ava Thomas and Payton Moore all made the all-TRC team by finishing in the top 10.
Maconaquah freshman Daisy Williams, their No. 5 player, was the conference medalist with an 80. Teammate Ava Snyder was runner-up with an 82.
How good is a 338? The 2012 Rochester team that made the IHSAA state finals shot a 347 at conference. The 2013 Rochester team that made state shot a 354 at conference.
Valley coach Thadd Mellott acknowledged Maconaquah’s excellence.
“I knew we were going to have to beat a 360 to win,” Mellott said. “I didn’t know we’d have to beat a 340 to win. Maconaquah played extremely well and hats off to them. They have a really good team. Numbers like that, I’d like to see them represent our conference well in the state tournament hopefully. It was just one of those days. We could have played our best golf and wouldn’t have beat a 338.”
For Valley, Ault tied for seventh and made the all-TRC team for the second straight year. She shot a 94 last year and an 88 this time.
“I definitely have been able to drive the ball a lot farther,” Ault said of her improvement. “And that comes from over the summer practicing.”
Kaydence Mellott’s 89 was a nine-stroke improvement from her 2020 conference score. She tied for ninth and later said she was oblivious to her success.
“That was one of my goals going into it,” Kaydence said of making all-TRC. “And then I didn’t realize how well I was doing until the end, and then I looked down, and I was like, ‘Oh, crap, I got an 89. That’s my best ever. So then I probably thought I would get it.”
Other Valley scores included Madelyn Weaver’s 93, Molly Moriarty’s 94 and Cheney Canada’s 100.
Thomas made the all-TRC team as a freshman with her 84. She missed a lifetime best for 18 holes by one stroke and finished third among individuals behind Williams and Snyder.
She said she has been playing golf since she was 7. She said the sport is challenging and that there are always improvements a golfer can make. She said she is a perfectionist, which can be both a good trait and a bad trait for a golfer.
“It’s really hilly and dry,” Ava said. “The greens were fast, so we had to land everything at the front of the green, so they wouldn’t roll off the back.”
Moore shot an 89 and tied for ninth with Kaydence Mellott. She also shot a lifetime best for 18 holes while improving her 2020 TRC score by 15 strokes.
“I put a lot of work in my game this winter, and it is showing,” Moore said.
Moore said the course was so hilly that she lost a ball in the fairway and that the greens were “really difficult to get a grasp of.”
“I was a little surprised,” Moore said. “I did really bad on the front with a 46, but I kind of brought it back on the back with a 43.”
Other Rochester scorers included Delaney Barkman’s 110, Reagan Becker’s 111 and Savanah Eccles’ 119.
Rochester senior Kat Rensberger missed the tournament with an arm injury, and her status is uncertain for this Saturday’s Warsaw sectional.
“I feel horrible for her,” coach Thomas said. “She’s swinging as well as I’ve seen her swing in forever, and I just feel really, really bad for her to have this injury and miss out on her last TRC.”
Still, a 394 was an above-average score for the Lady Zs in an 18-hole tournament. Thomas, Moore, Barkman and Becker all shot a personal-best for a high school 18-hole round.
“This is one of the closest teams that we’ve had in awhile as far as all the girls cracking each other up and getting along really well,” coach Thomas said. “It makes my job a lot easier, and they’re a fun group to be around. They all enjoy each other, and it’s been a very rewarding season in terms of that.”
at Maple Grove Golf Course, Huntington, Saturday (par 71)
Maconaquah 338, Tippecanoe Valley 364. Northfield 375, Peru 385, Rochester 394, Wabash 403, Whitko 422, North Miami 429, Manchester 439, Southwood (incomplete team)
MACONAQUAH (338): Williams 80, Snyder 82, Sharp 84, M. Stoll 91, (C. Stoll 103)
VALLEY (364): Lily Ault 88, Kaydence Mellott 89, Madelyn Weaver 93, Molly Moriarty 94, (Cheney Canada 100)
NORTHFIELD (375): Dale 85, Cartwright 86, Wilson 100, Satterthwaite 104, (Leland 113)
PERU (385): Rogers 88, Sylvain 93, Prior 99, Baker 105, (Wilhelm 118)
ROCHESTER (394): Ava Thomas 84, Payton Moore 89, Delaney Barkman 110, Reagan Becker 111, (Savanah Eccles 119)
WABASH (403): Cole 96, McWhirt 100, Till 102, Kugler 105, (Adams 114)
WHITKO (422): Garr 95, Krieg 103, Ross 111, Hathaway 113, (Starkweather 118)
NORTH MIAMI (429): Miller 94, Trigg 104, Sumpter-Music 104, Amburgey 127, (Finnegan 141)
MANCHESTER (439): Hippensteel 94, Gearhart 109, Henderson 112, Tennant 124, (Harris 141) SOUTHWOOD: Topliff 134, Cavins 134, Grace 140
All-TRC (top 10 plus ties): 1. Daisy Williams (Maconaquah) – 80 (medalist), 2. Ava Snyder (Maconaquah) – 82, 3. Ava Thomas (Rochester) – 84, t-4. Kianna Sharp (Maconaquah) – 85, t-4. Ainsley Dale (Northfield) – 85, 6. Alex Cartwright (Northfield) – 86, t-7. Lily Ault (Valley) – 88, t-7. Libby Rogers (Peru) – 88, t-9. Kaydence Mellott (Valley) – 89, t-9. Payton Moore (Rochester) – 89
The Tippecanoe Valley girls golf team shot a 364 and finished second at the Three Rivers Conference tournament at Maple Grove Golf Course Saturday. From left – Kaydence Mellott, Lily Ault, Madelyn Weaver, Molly Moriarty, Cheney Canada. Mellott and Ault made the all-TRC team. Ault made the all-TRC team for the second straight year. Maconaquah won the team title with a 338.
Rochester’s Ava Thomas, left, and Payton Moore show off their all-TRC medals at Maple Grove Golf Course in Huntington Saturday. Thomas shot an 84 and finished third overall while Moore shot an 89 and tied for ninth. The top 10 golfers make the all-conference team. Rochester shot a season-low 394 as a team and placed fifth.