HURON — The Huron Tigers girls golf team led by Lauren Volz won the first invitational in school history on Wednesday in record-shattering style at Thunderbird South golf course.
The Tigers trounced the 25-team field at the Edison Invitational with a 324, good for a 16-stroke lead over second place.
“We’ve finished in the top five (in invitationals), but we’ve never won (them),” Huron coach Frank Gioffre said. “We were able to put some first-place hardware in our trophy case.”
Senior Lauren Volz medaled for the Tigers with a 71, followed by Ashley Franks with a 79, freshman Rafaella Gioffre with an 80 and Hannah Critelli with a 94.
Together, the Tigers crushed their previous team record, 340, by 16 strokes.
“It shows that we can get back to state, out of our district,” Volz said. “It shows that even if one of us has an off day, the others can pick us up.”
Volz set a new school school record with a 71, including a 32 on the front nine, besting her own mark from last year’s state tournament by five strokes.
“Everything started to come together,” she said. “My drives haven’t been been that great the last few weeks but got better. My putting got better as the day went on.”
Starting with a +3 on the back nine, Volz shot a 32 on the front, including birdies on Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 6.
“Shooting a 32, four under, on one side … I don’t care what course you play, that’s strong,” Gioffre said. “That’s good golf.”
Volz, an all-Ohio player as a junior in 2009, played in two Callaway Golf PGA Junior Series events over the summer at Penn State and in Lexington, Ky.
Gioffre said that, even though she didn’t place in either event, her participation helped prepare her for bigger tournaments and invitationals like the Edison Invite.
Huron shot a 347 for second place in the 18-hole Perrysburg Lady Yellow Jackets Invitational on Tuesday. The back-to-back tournaments will help the Tigers prepare for the two-day state tournament, said Gioffre. It also helps him grade his team.
“I’m able to evaluate my team alot on their game in two days,” he said. “Now we can prepare each kid on some of their weakness, and continue to improve each day, each weeek, to become a better team.
“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into this program. It’s really been paying dividends the last three or four years with our kids.”
The Sandusky Bay Conference took three of the top four spots. The cluster of Lexington (340), Perkins (341) and Edison (343) followed Huron at a distance. Margaretta’s came in 14th with a 393, followed by Edison’s ‘B’ team with a 395. Port Clinton and Oak Harbor carded 437 and 487, respectively.
Ana Fischer led the Chargers with a 38 on both sides for a personal-best 76, tying individually for second place. Perkins’ Maddy Mullins shot a 39 and 41 for an 80, leading the Pirates.
Edison got help from a trio of freshmen, including Hannah Stone (96), Nikki Mollohan (97) and Lauren Crooks (98).
“You get a couple 18-hole matches under your belt, and you get your nerves calmed down,” Chargers coach Lisa Kelble said. “This was the first competition (Edison has) had this season.”
Norwalk tied North Olmsted for 17th with a 396. Vermilion came in with a 409, followed by Danbury with a 432 and New London with a 446.
Just a few years ago, when Kelble helped organize the first Edison Invitational, she had trouble getting teams to come.
“They — the course — were mad at me because I didn’t have enough golfers.”
Around 75 players from 11 schools participated in the first event. This year, 25 teams attended, exceeding capacity.
“To see all those girls out there … As somebody that helped to bring up girls’ golf, to see those girls out there … it brings tears to my eyes,” Kelble said. “It’s wonderful.
“I’m happy they have this opportunity. In 1978 when I grad from high school, we didn’t have that opportunity. We had volleyball, cheerleading, we had track … But we didn’t have golf.
“It’s so wonderful to see the growth from when they played in the junior league,” Kelble said. “And they’re getting better every year — They’re getting better.”Medalist: Lauren Volz, Huron — 71 1. Huron 324 2. Lexington340 3. Perkins 341 4. Edison 343 5. Ashland 347 6. Shelby 350 7. Avon 351 8. Highland 354 9. Bay 356 10. St. Paul 373 11. Westlake 380 12. Avon Lake 381 13. St. Joseph 385 14. Margaretta 393 15t. Edison (B) 395 15t. Van Buren 395 17t. North Olmsted 396 17t. Norwalk 396 19. Rocky River 398 20. Vermilion 409 21. Brunswick 420 22. Danbury 432 23. Port Clinton 437 24. New London 446 25. Oak Harbor 487