SYCAMORE TWP. – Sunny skies turned gray on the Gray Course at Ohio State Oct. 24, but it was a bright day for the green and gold of Sycamore High School.
Senior Kellen Alsip, in her second trip to the Division I state girls golf tournament, finished as the individual medalist with rounds of 72 and 75 over the weekend. Alsip defeated Jacinta Pakunas of Youngstown Boardman and Katie Hallinan of Walnut Hills by two strokes.
Without real-time scoring at the event, Alsip wasn’t sure where she was on the leaderboard.
“I knew I played pretty well, but I wasn’t sure it was going to be enough,” she said. “Conditions were pretty good. I really wasn’t focusing on what it would take to win, I was focusing on trying to stay calm throughout.”
Usually consistent with her irons, Alsip had a good day of greens and fairways. Her drives averaged from 220 to 250 yards and she was able to get several proper putting lines with three birdies each round.
“My putting really came through both days to help me and my driver was cooperating pretty well,” she said.
Alsip came into the weekend as the Greater Miami Conference Player of the Year with a nine-hole average of 38.20. Her opening round of 72 had her in second-place Oct. 23, a stroke behind Jessica Hahn of Canton Glen Oak.
“My swing coach told me I had a chance for top five,” Alsip said. “After day one, I realized there was a chance of me pulling it together.”
The Sycamore girls team qualified for the state event with a third-place finish at the Division I district tournament. Alsip was joined by seniors Maya Outlaw and Hannah Zeidenstein and juniors Orchid Wang and Sophie Kramer.
Andrew Ovington coached Sycamore this season, taking over for Keith Brackenridge. Kramer had the best state tournament outside of Alsip, with rounds of 89 and 81 to finish 45th out of 72 golfers. In the GMC, Sycamore placed second behind Mason.
“It was good year for us and the team came together pretty well,” Alsip said. “Coaching styles were a lot different. Coach Ovington came forward and put everything into it.”
Alsip’s short-term plans are to take some time off, then get back into some fall tournaments within the region. She would like to play in college and has been talking to schools, but has yet to make definitive plans.
As for Sycamore, she believes the Lady Aves can make a return run without her in 2016.
“We had a freshman on our varsity team who didn’t get to play at state, but she’ll be back,” Alsip said. “We have a couple of juniors coming up and our No. 1 and No. 2 on JV were really close to making varsity. It still looks good for the team the next few years.”