SYRACUSE — Braedyn O’Dell repeated as low medalist, and the Lady Raiders recorded two of the top five scores on their way to a repeat title at the Wawasee Invitational Saturday.
O’Dell’s 73 topped the leaderboard, while fellow Northridge senior Ashley Brewster’s 77 was the field’s fourth score as the Raiders recorded a 340 to run away with a repeat with at South Shore. Wawasee’s 363 beat out another Northern Lakes Conference squad, Concord, by three strokes for team runner-up honors at its home invite, and Columbia City finished three more strokes back at 369 in a crowded competition for second through fourth place at the 11-team tourney.
“It’s fun to come down here and play. The weather held out for us today,” said Ridge coach Ken Brewster. “It’s kind of one of those tournaments where you see where your bottom players are. My three and four played pretty good today. I know they can improve from where they were, but, yeah, it’s a fun tournament to play.”
Jules Weaver supplied the Raiders with their third score at 90, and Emily Mack’s 100 put Northridge well out of reach of the home team. Peyton Roberts’ 125 was the team’s throw-away.
An Eagle on 1 helped O’Dell come in at 35, and her 1-over-par 73 for the day beat out Columbia City’s Katie Hoag by three strokes for top individual honors. Classmate Brewster was hot on her tail with a fourth-place score of 77, though, to give the Raiders a very solid one-two finish.
“My number two, who happens to be my daughter, she’s been working her butt off and has really improved her game over the last few years. She worked real hard this summer, and now realizes she can play that way,” said Ken. “Now she’s trying to push the one, and she wants to take that spot. I like to see that because for their first three years I think they just fell into their spots. They worked hard, but Braedyn knew she was one, Ashley knew she was two, and now Ashley is starting to throw some stuff up there, and it’s pushing Braedyn, too.”
While the Warriors came up short of the title at their home meet, their runner-up finish felt pretty good.
Belle Brunner’s 78 garnered her fifth place in the individual standings, and she would’ve gone even lower if not for an OB shot and eventual double bogey on the par 4 17th at South Shore. Jadison Rostochak got her game on track in the fourth grouping out for Wawasee with an 89, while Tate Cowan put up a 91, and Ava Harker’s 105 completed her team’s score. Valerie Haessig finished just one stroke back of Harker playing in the third pairing. Rhian Galloway shot 119 playing as an individual entry.
“I feel like the girls played pretty well. We’re getting better,” said head coach Steve Coverstone. “Belle had a great day with a 78. She hit one out on 17, but she played well. She shot 38 on the front and 40 on the back. She would’ve been 38, 38 without that. Jadison played pretty well. She got back. And Tate played pretty well.
“We’ve just got to keep improving, little by little, and see what we can do at the end of the year.”
Hoag’s 76 and Abby Pequignot’s 92 led City, but no other Eagle was able to crack triple digits at the meet. Carly Mabie put up a 100, Lindsey McCammon turned in a 100, and Katie Hoeppner was out in 104 in a consistent finish by the team’s three through five golfers.
Whitko wound up in fifth place behind City with a 399, meanwhile, led by Augusta Garr’s 90. Guinny Garr shot 99, Bailey Wright scored a 100, Summer West shot 110, and Erin Starkweather’s 113 was the Wildcats’ toss-out at South Shore.
Saturday’s invite gave both Wawasee and Ridge a glimpse at a majority of the NLC field as Concord, Elkhart Memorial and Goshen were all present alongside the Warriors and the Raiders. The conference picture it left coaches with was one that will likely see NorthWood and Ridge at the top of the NLC pile with Wawasee, Warsaw and Concord duking it out behind them.
“Everybody has got a chance against everybody else. Concord’s pretty good. We’re pretty good. Warsaw’s pretty good. It’s going to be an interesting conference season,” said Coverstone.
“It is nice to see where you stack up there. We also have a lot of sectional teams here, too,” explained Ridge’s skipper. “The teams we play in sectional, I like to see kind of where they’re at at this point in the year and what we need to do and where we need to go to make sure we stay ahead of all of them. We’re trying to defend our two-year-in-a-row sectional title, we’re trying to win a third one this year with my seniors, so this tournament is nice for that because we see some of those schools we wouldn’t normally see.”