COLUMBUS — Maybe it was the blue and orange shoes or the florescent-colored striped T-shirt.
Whatever it was, the mojo of Avon Lake’s Niki Schroeder on Saturday was enviable, as the sophomore shot a
2-over-par 72 to leapfrog a pack of players and finish runner-up medalist to Highland’s Jessica Porvasnik at the Division I state tournament.
It marked the third straight season a Lorain County resident placed in the top two at a state tournament. Avon resident Beau Titsworth, who competed for
St. Ignatius, was the boys D-I co-medalist a year ago and runner-up in 2010.
“I can’t complain. I played well, especially after I came back from (Friday), which wasn’t a bad round, either.” Schroeder said shortly after receiving a big hug from her mother, Lyn. “I played well, but (Porvasnik) played great.”
The bubbly and extremely focused Schroeder, who was a second-team All-Ohioan as a freshman with a 10th-place finish and was tied for ninth after Friday’s first round, rode a hot putter up the leaderboard.
Schroeder got into a major groove following a bogey on the par-4 first hole at Ohio State University’s Gray Course. She birdied two par-5s, pared the third and had a run of nine consecutive pars or better.
Schroeder had a couple mild hiccups with bogeys on 16 and 17, but she remained calm and pared on the difficult par-4 18th to secure her silver medal.
“I hit lot of good ones, but the putter was working today,” she said. “Up-and-downs were key, especially because the greens were tough. You had to make some putts, and I did that a lot better than I did (Friday).”
“No way am I surprised at this
(second-place finish),” Avon coach Kevin Fitch said. “She works so hard, and this is a result of that.
“It was tough out there. The wind was a factor and the greens were sloppy. For her to stay in control under those adverse conditions is amazing. You just can’t duplicate this course or that kind of pressure. Her demeanor may be her greatest asset. She stays so calm. She just never seems to be pressured.”
While Schroeder finished seven strokes back of Ohio State recruit Porvasnik, who tied a D-I state tournament record with a 68-72—150, she was more than thrilled with the final result after holding off North Canton Hoover’s McKenzie DiPietro (70-78—148), Dublin Jerome’s Lexie Toth (71-78—149) and Lexington’s Theresa-Ann Jedra (76-73-149).
That held especially true considering Schroeder shined in the presence of Buckeyes coach Therese Hession, who followed the budding star intently.
“I knew anything around par was going to be good,” Schroeder said. “With the conditions, I knew it was going to be pretty wet out, so I knew that was going to be a really good score. I went after that, and I played well.
“When the wind was blowing, it was hard to pick a club, but once I picked it, I had to convince myself it was the right one.”
The day wasn’t as wildly successful for St. Edward’s Joey Krecic (Columbia Station resident), Anton Krecic (Columbia Station) and Will Bethune (Avon Lake) as the Eagles only moved up one position to ninth (340-335-675).
On a chilly day that only made the difficult pin placements harder, Joey Krecic played pretty consistently, but couldn’t string together more than three pars. He improved on his first-day score with an 80, and tied for 22nd individually with an 83-80-163.
Anton Krecic finished tied for 38th with an 84-84-168, while Bethune, who won the Sweetbriar Sectional, was one stroke behind at 84-85-169.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.