By TRIBUNE SPORTS STAFF
---- — Northwestern junior Ashton Martin shot a seven-over-par 79 Saturday at Logansport Country Club, taking medalist honors in leading the Purple Tigers to their second Mid-Indiana Conference girls golf title in as many years.
Teammate Alexis Hungate finished third individually with an 84 while Olivia McClure finished in a three-way for the fifth lowest score of the round at 85 to also snag all-conference honors as the Purple Tigers shot a 341, topping second-place Peru (254) by 13 strokes.
“We played quite well even though the back nine played tough,” Northwestern coach Randy Lindgren said. “Right next to us is Peru, who shot a great score. That’s probably our top competition in the upcoming sectional. The [Purple] Tigers are going to continue to work hard and build off this outing heading towards the sectional. And, it was nice to have three medalists. That shows our kids’ determination and dedication.”
Western’s Natalie Newlin finished second individually with an 81, while teammate Minka Gill carded an 84. Hamilton Heights’ Katie Gelhausen (85), Maconaquah’s Brandi Jones (85) and Peru’s Mallory Zorn (86) rounded out the all-conference spots.
Hamilton Heights finished third as a team at 370, followed by Western (373), Maconaquah (415), Taylor (416), Eastern (429) and Cass (512).
Ava McClure added a 93 for Northwestern.
Madison Deniston carded an 87 for the runner-up Bengal Tigers. Mallory Struble shot an 89, and Emma Long carded a 92 to round out Peru’s scorecard.
For Western, Shelby Schave carded a 101 and Sophie Frazier added a 107.
Daysi Jarvis shot a 91 to lead Taylor. Ashley Fritsch added a 104, Lexi Davis added a 109 and Taylor Mosier shot a 112.
Eastern was led by Maddie Williams who carded a 95. Sarah Sharp fired a 105, Mallory Moreno added a 113 and Savannah Palumbo finished at 116.
Anne-Marie Balsbaugh led Kokomo and tied for third with a score of 84 to help the Wildkats grab second place at the league meet at The Edge CC in Anderson. She made the all-NCC squad as the top seven are honored by the league. Also for Kokomo, Jenny Oldaker shot 97, Katy Volikas shot 102 and Kaila Stiner shot 102 to round out the Kats’ scores.
Marion won the conference meet with a score of 358, Kokomo was second at 385, and Richmond was third at 387. Morgan Nadaline of Anderson was the medalist with a two-over 74.
“I’m very proud of how the girls stepped up and played,” Kokomo coach Andy Carpenter said. “Going into the conference tournament, with just 18-hole averages, we were ranked sixth, so to come out with a second place, I was just so excited. AnneMarie, shooting 84, she struggled on a couple holes but to make the all-conference team again, it’s a great way to end her high school career in the conference.
“I think what topped everybody’s excitement was sliding past Richmond, beating them by two strokes. They seem to be our No. 1 rival every year.”
Warren Central won the 14-team invite with 66, Noblesville was second with 72, Western was third with 92, Kokomo was fourth with 95, Tipton seventh with 188, Northwestern ninth with 223, Eastern 11th with 263 and Taylor was 14th with 424.
Western’s Matt Grider paced the field with a first-place finish in 15:59. Riley Carter was 16th in 17:15. Auston Davenport was 19th 17:22. Caleb Maddox was 24th in 17:43. And Josh Scott was 32nd in 18:03.
It’s nice that we finally got good weather,” Western coach Gary Jewell said. “We’ve been kind of plagued with having races when it’s hot out. Tuesday at Oak Hill it was 95 degrees. [Saturday] it was 50 which is more conducive to running fast times. we had 10 guys run PRs out of the 20 that we ran. Matt had a good race, took the lead at a bout a mile and stretched it out to about 12 seconds.”
Northwestern finished ninth as a team, led by Zach Duranto’s 21st-place finish in 17:32. Shad Jakes finished 44th in 18:30, followed by Charlie Neher in 45th (18:31), Taylor McLain in 50th (18:41) and Josh Perry in 65th (19:55).
“I’m not feeling too bad about us right now,” Northwestern coach Dave Stevens said. “I wish we were a little faster [Saturday], but when I went over the stats, 11 of our 15 guys had season’s or personal-best times. So, we’re moving in the right direction. The competition was good [Saturday]. The bigger schools went to the top, as what normally happens. I’m happy with the guys. I think we’ll continue to improve meet after meet.”
Eastern finished 11th as a team, led by race runner-up Lewis Duke, who finished in 16:11. Brenton Cherry (52nd, 18:49), Matt Kerner (66th, 19:59), Trevor Buchanan (71st, 20:22) and Evan Hursh (79th, 20:46) also competed for the Comets.
“This was the first time we’ve competed as a complete team this season, so that was a positive right off the bat,” Eastern coach Brandon Mink said. “Four of our five guys had personal bests and the one who didn’t was Lewis, and he ran an outstanding race. He timed his kick perfectly, raced very even and had a strong finish to nip a couple guys at the end. He did an excellent job.”
Jeremy Breedlove led Kokomo with a fourth-place finish in 16:14. Ethan Sharp followed in 13th in 17:09. Jordan Fivecoat took 15th in 17:14, while Max McHaney took 26th at 17:53 and Colten Pearce took 37th at 18:16.
Taylor finished 14th, led by Kaleil Rucker, who finished 80th in 20:57. Stephen Sholty (87th, 22:27), Nick Denman (90th, 23:29), Alex Guy (92nd, 24:22) and Victor Skaggs (94th, 28:18) rounded out the Titans lineup.
Freshman Adam Rood led Maconquah with a 53rd-place finish in 18:54, while Carl Cook followed in 75th-place finish in a time of 20:24.
Noblesville won the meet with 46 points, followed by Warren Central (74), Twin Lakes (80), Western (127) and Eastern (131) to round out the top five teams. Maconaquah was seventh with 176, Northwestern was eighth with 196, and Kokomo finished 11th with 303.
Twin Lakes’ Madeline Lilly won the race in 18:55, narrowly edging Northwestern’s Taryn Thor, who finished second in 18:58. Kindra Gingerich (49th, 22:44), Nicole Crocker (51st, 22:50), Rachel Johns (54th, 23:12) and Jensen Freeman (57th, 23:36) also competed for the Purple Tigers.
“Taryn is working extremely hard and has big goals,” Northwestern coach Dave Stevens said. “So, her workouts have been tough in the last couple weeks with the heat index. I think she is where she needs to be right now to be running in late October. We ran 14 girls and eight of them had personal or season’s-best. After a week of practice in the heat we came out strong [Saturday] morning. We’re not where we want to be a as a team yet, and I’m sure the girls will continue to work to get there. Our times right now are an indication of how hard we’re working in practice.”
Eastern put a pair of sophomores in the top 10. Avery Ewing finished eighth in 19:52 while Carly Jones followed in 10th in 20:15. Jessie Sprinkles took 12th in 20:21, while Elysaa DeAngulo (43rd, 22:17) and Kaylee Gebhart (68th, 25:14) rounded out the Comets’ lineup.
“I thought we did really well. With the cards we were dealt we did as best as we could,” Eastern coach Brandon Mink said. “Western beat us by four, so hats off to them. We ran just about as well as we could, so I’m proud of the girls. We had two PRs and another season’s best, so it was a good performance out of the five girls that ran [Saturday].”
Freshman Cinnamon Andrews led Kokomo in 33rd in a time of 21:41. Mary Lucas (76th, 27:32), Hannah Reecer (79th, 29:36), Madeline Ryals (80th, 29:46) and Abbie O’Keefe (81st, 29:59) also competed for the Wildkats, with Reecer, Ryals and O’Keefe each shaving two minutes off of their season’s-best times.
“It was a beautiful day to run compared to the last couple weeks,” Kokomo coach Dave Barnes said. “The girls performed outstanding for me. We aren’t as talented as some, but I ask them to improve every meet for me and that’s what it’s about. We’re making great improvements and working hard. For three to take off two minutes is outstanding. Cinnamon was down a minute and when you’re already in that caliber, that’s outstanding. I’m very pleased.”
Taylor was led by Cami Hansen, who finished 14th in 20:23. Teammate Paige Welsh followed in 64th at 24:25.
Olivia Winegardner led Maconaquah with an 18th-place finish in a time of 20:50. Kate White followed in 27th in 21:22, followed by Vanessa Frazier (35th, 21:42), Amanda Shinn (50th, 22:48) and Bekah Shinn (58th, 23:37).
Eastern finished second in the flighted tournament behind Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian. Bluffton was third, followed by the host Argylls.
No. 3 singles player Robbie Walling won his flight for the Comets, defeating Bluffton’s Aaron Sturgeon 6-2, 6-2 and Blackhawk’s Chase Ramsey 6-2, 5-7, 10-4 in a third-set supertiebreaker.
No. 2 singles player Logan Colwell went 1-1 to finish second, topping Madison-Grant’s Jordan Crume 6-2, 6-0 before falling to Blackhawk’s Ben Bailey 3-6, 6-4, 10-4.
No. 1 singles player Ryan Manfred went 1-1 to finish third, falling to Blackhawk’s Jeremy Hoover 3-6, 4-6 before bouncing back to beat Bluffton’s Mitchell Kuhlenbeck 6-3, 6-3.
Eastern’s No. 1 doubles team of Zach Walker and Austin Chase also took third, falling to Bluffton 3-6, 2-6 before ending the day with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Madison-Grant.
“After dropping two close MIC matches to Western and Taylor this week, it was exciting to come out this weekend and compete with other schools,” Eastern coach Nick Sale said. “The season comes and goes fast with only two weeks to go, and I feel like we’re progressing well. It was nice to get in a tourney atmosphere. The kids are excited and so am I, so hopefully we can finish strong in the last couple weeks.”
Kokomo (4-8) went 0-3 in its own invite, losing to Lebanon and No. 10 Delta 5-0. The Wildkats also lost to No. 23 West Lafayette 4-1.
Kokomo’s No. 2 doubles team of Joey Hurlocker and Jake Farkas came out victorious with a 6-4, 6-7 (7-1), 10-2 win over West Lafayette.
“We played strong competition,” said Kokomo coach Shawn Flanary on his team’s performance against ranked teams. “Craig [Simon No. 1 singles player] had a good match with a 7-5, 7-5 loss to the Lebanon player. It was nice to see him battle. Now, we are just trying to get better.”
Delta went on to win the invite with a 3-0 record.
NORTHWESTERN GOES 2-0
Northwestern defeated Tri-Central and Oak Hill in a three-team affair at Tri-Central.
In its opener, the Tigers topped the Trojans 25-18, 25-23, 25-21, led by Hannah Ballard’s 12 kills. Kelsey Richards added nine points, two aces and 16 digs. Emily Harshman added six points and 26 digs. Leslie Samuel and Megan Floyd each posted four kills, and Sydney Zeck dished out 21 assists.
Northwestern (5-6) capped the day with a four-set win over the Golden Eagles, 25-13, 26-24, 18-25, 25-11. Ballard put forth a monster performance against Oak Hill, posting 21 kills, seven block kills, eight digs, nine points and four aces. Richards added 20 points and five aces. Harshman added eight points, two aces and 18 digs. Whitney Zeck posted five kills while Samuel added four, and Sydney Zeck distributed 30 assists.
“Our kids just came together,” Northwestern coach Trina Yager said. “We talked after the Maconaquah [loss on Thursday], and I asked them if they knew what happened in the first two sets because we were a different team in the last two sets. It was just determination that got them to play that way. And, I asked them if there was anything we can do to start that way every game, and the girls wanted to have music in the locker room to get them pumped up. We played well because, as a team, our mental state was where it needed to be.”
Tri-Central (5-8) fell to Oak Hill in its other match, 25-22, 25-20, 11-25, 20-25, 15-11.
On the day, Tara Davis had 21 points and 28 assists for the Trojans, while Kaylee Colbert added 16 points and 18 assists. Shelby Ramsey stamped 22 kills and added six blocks. Hadley DeWeese had 14 kills to go with nine blocks. Hayley Farris finished with 66 digs, and Cecelia Rayl added 42 digs.
“We had moments where we were playing well,” TC coach Ron Byram said. “We’re just having trouble piecing it together for long periods of time. Our offense is better than it was last week, but is still a little too inconsistent. Cecelia Rayl has played well in the last two weeks. She’s been our most consistent player.”
Maconaquah finished the day as the runner-up at 3-1 to improve to 10-3 on the season.
The Braves opened the day with a 25-18, 25-16 win over Seeger and followed with a 25-12, 25-18 win over Cass. The Braves then topped Rossville 26-25, 25-22 before falling to Mississinewa in the championship round, 26-24, 25-17.
Emily Wilson had 69 digs on the day for Maconaquah. Lynnsie Arion dished out 44 assists. Madison Turner added 47 digs. Jalyn Windsor finished with 20 kills. Michaela Walters added 15 kills and 22 digs and Ally Exmeyer added 14 kills.
“We couldn’t find our groove in the second set of the championship match,” Maconaquah coach Jessica Metcalf said. “We came out playing very flat. I’m not sure if it was the sitting for two games or what the problem was, but nothing seemed to work for us. Our passing wasn’t as accurate as it was earlier in the day, so that took away from being able to run an offense. Jalyn only had one kill in the last match, and that shows that things weren’t clicking.”
Taylor went 0-3 on the day, falling to Bluffton, University and South Adams. Rachel Hafley and Kim Seal each posted 10 kills. Valary Farmer added 16 points, Seal added 15 and Hafley and Hannah Mullinax each added 14.
Kokomo finished 2-2 on the day to move to 4-10 on the season. The Kats opened the day with a 25-17, 25-18 loss to Washington Township, followed by a 25-17, 25-16 loss to Hammond Bishop Noll.
Kokomo rebounded with a 25-10, 25-13 win over East Chicago Washington before topping Hammond Clark in the final match of the day, 25-12, 25-11.
Tori Lauderbaugh finished the day with 33 kills and 10 digs. Kirsten Frey added 22 kills and three blocks. Alanis Jones added 16 kills and a pair of blocks. Brooke Smith added nine kills. Miranda Ogle dished out 63 assists and added 10 digs. Amanda Tran added 47 service receptions, 23 digs and seven service aces. Cheyenne Thomas added 11 digs.
“We still haven’t been able to put together a group of sets,” Kokomo coach Jason Watson said. “We are struggling to make long runs and keep opponents from making long runs. We’re getting batter at it, but in order to beat stronger opponents, we are going to have to get better at it. I was pleased to get a pair of wins, although those teams were struggling a bit.”
NEW CASTLE 3, KOKOMO 0
In what may be the final regular season matchup between the two schools, the Trojans took a 2-0 lead at the half before adding an insurance goal in the final three minutes to top the Wildkats (5-5) at home. The game did not count in the North Central Conference standings.
NC limited Kokomo to three shots on goal. Goalie Catherine Skaggs had five saves for the Kats, while Michaela Wade added a defensive save on a ball that got past the goalie.
“We lost to this team 6-1 last year and graduated 10 seniors while they only graduated three or four,” Kokomo coach Kevin Duggins said. “I was curious how we’d compete with them and to play them 2-0 until late was very encouraging. We had a few starters hurt, but our girls are getting better at possessing the ball and not just kicking it forward, even [Saturday] when the ball was in our end. We need to continue to improve on that as we get ready for games later in the season.”
BLACKFORD 3, TAYLOR 0
Lydia Owens had 20 saves for the Titans.
”[We] played a very good Blackford team and kind of held our own but we were shorthanded with some injuries, so the girls fought hard, but Blackford was a bit too much for us,” Taylor coach John Piotrowicz said.