- Val T.
Two close: Rochester, Valley tie for 2nd at TRC girls golf tourney
Rochester’s Bailey, Thomas, Moore, Valley’s Weaver, Moriarty, Mellott make all-conference
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
WARSAW — Golf is seemingly an inherently frustrating sport.
Getting better at golf does not make one less likely to wonder what if but rather moreso.
The Rochester and Tippecanoe Valley girls golf teams, rivals but also friendly cohabitants at Round Barn Golf Club at Mill Creek, were both left wondering what if after the Three Rivers Conference tournament on Sept. 10 after each finished two shots behind champion Maconaquah.
The Lady Braves won their second straight conference title with a 344. Rochester and Valley tied for second at 346. Both Rochester and Valley had the same fifth player’s score, which means they shared second.
Rochester freshman Olivia Bailey fired a 77, Ava Thomas had an 80, and Payton Moore had an 84 to make the all-conference team. Bailey was second overall, Thomas was fourth, and Moore was seventh in the field of 46 golfers. Thomas and Moore made the all-conference team for the second straight year.
Savanah Eccles and Delaney Barkman each shot a 105 to round out the Lady Z scorecard.
Valley’s Madelyn Weaver made the all-conference team for the second time in her career after shooting a 79 and placing third overall. Molly Moriarty tied for eighth with an 87, and Kaydence Mellott tied for ninth with an 88, and they both made the all-TRC team as well. Mellott also made the team for the second straight year.
Other Valley scores included Lily Ault’s 92 and Maddie Thompson’s 105.
Maconaquah sophomore Daisy Williams won conference medalist honors for the second straight year with a 74.
Rochester, Valley and Maconaquah players were seemingly in their own tournament against each other. Players from those three schools were paired together, and players from those three schools comprised nine of the 11 players on the all-conference team.
Wabash was fourth with a 412, and they finished 66 shots behind Rochester and Valley.
“Just literally a couple shots here and there,” Rochester coach Chad Thomas said. “There wasn’t a decisive factor. We knew it was going to be close, and whoever executed the shots when they needed to was going to come out on top. I’ve been in some close tournaments before, but this has got to take the cake when you’re talking about the top three teams. I’ve been in ones where it comes down to just maybe two teams when it’s like that. … We all knew it would be this way. We played a couple weeks ago and happened to get out on top on that one.”
Thomas then talked about the frustrations of golf and the inability to save strokes when a player thinks that is possible.
He mentioned that shooting a 346 at Rozella Ford is “very, very solid” and that his team just got beat by a better team.
Valley coach Thadd Mellott also was pleased with his team’s score.
“I thought we needed to be around 350, which we were,” Mellott said. “Unfortunately, 346 wasn’t quite enough. I’m still super proud of the girls. I mean, I had three girls in the top 10, three all-conference girls. They played their butts off today. I can’t be upset.”
Thomas said it’s easy to wonder after a close loss where one could have reduced their score.
“Every one of the kids from every one of the teams, if you asked them how many shots could you have saved, and they'll tell you,” Thomas said. “Anybody could have saved a shot here and there. Everybody. Any golfer that plays golf.”
Said coach Mellott of dealing with regrets as a golfer: “We could go through that scenario with every girl out here.”
Mellott said that putting was the difference.
“It seemed like we had a lot of three-putts,” coach Mellott said. “We had a lot of putts out there that I think, if we had a chance to redo, we could improve on. Still, at the end of the day, a 346, I would be happy with that.”
Rochester has nine days between the conference and sectional tournaments. Thomas was asked what he will tell his players to help them psychologically recover.
“Just be positive,” Thomas said. “We played a good round. We just got beat. A couple of them are beating themselves up, but we played a really good round of golf. Shot our best score of the year. There’s a lot of positives to come out of this even though we didn’t bring home the trophy. We need to stay focused and keep moving forward. The big part’s coming up.”
While Thomas will take his Rochester team to Tippecanoe Country Club in Monticello for the sectional, Mellott’s Lady Vikings will return to Rozella Ford for the sectional in six days.
“Most of these girls know this course really well because we play here a lot,” coach Mellott said. “Most of the girls live within 10 minutes of the course, so they were a little bit more familiar with the greens, but they were a little faster and definitely a little steeper than most.”
TRC girls golf tournament
at Rozella Ford Golf Club, Warsaw, Sept. 10 (par 71)
Maconaquah 344, Rochester 346, Tippecanoe Valley 346, Wabash 412, Northfield 420, Whitko 431, North Miami 451, Peru 459, Southwood 467, Manchester (incomplete team)
MACONAQUAH (344): Williams 74, M. Stoll 81, C. Stoll 83, Dobbs 106, (Wagner 107)
ROCHESTER (346): Olivia Bailey 77, Ava Thomas 80, Payton Moore 84, Delaney Barkman 105, (Savanah Eccles 105)
VALLEY (346): Madelyn Weaver 79, Molly Moriarty 87, Kaydence Mellott 88, Lily Ault 92, (Maddie Thompson 105)
WABASH (412): McWhirt 87, Adams 97, A. Till 110, S. Till 118, (Stephens 134)
NORTHFIELD (420): Wilson 88, Cartwright 92, Leland 114, Otey 126
WHITKO (431): Ross 103, Krieg 107, Burnworth 110, Starkweather 111, (Ocken 130)
NORTH MIAMI (451): Miller 106, Cleaver 110, Musall 117, Early 118, (Benedict 124)
PERU (459): Baker 96, M. Nero 113, R. Nero 121, Worcester 129, (Guyer 133)
SOUTHWOOD (467): Chenowith 106, Topliff 110, Goodpasture 116, Niccum 135, (Gaylourd 135)
MANCHESTER: Henderson 112, Gearheart 118
All-TRC team (top 10 plus ties): 1. Daisy Williams (Maconaquah) – 74, 2. Olivia Bailey (Rochester) – 77, 3. Madelyn Weaver (Valley) – 79, 4. Ava Thomas (Rochester) – 80, 5. Miranda Stoll (Maconaquah) – 81, 6. Courtney Stoll (Maconaquah) – 83, 7. Payton Moore (Rochester) – 84, t-8. Molly Moriarty (Valley) – 87, t-8. Kenley McWhirt (Wabash) – 87, t-10. Kaydence Mellott (Valley) – 88, t-10. Hannah Wilson (Northfield) – 88
Rochester golfers, from left, Payton Moore, Ava Thomas and Olivia Bailey made the all-conference team by finishing in the top 10 at the TRC tournament at Rozella Ford Golf Club in Warsaw on Sept. 10. Moore shot an 84 and was seventh, Thomas fired an 80 and was fourth, and Bailey had a 77 and was second.
Tippecanoe Valley golfers, from left, Kaydence Mellott, Madelyn Weaver and Molly Moriarty made the all-conference team by finishing in the top 10 at the TRC tournament at Rozella Ford Golf Club in Warsaw on Sept. 10. Mellott shot an 88 and tied for 10th, Weaver fired a 79 and took third, and Moriarty had an 87 and tied for eighth.