By Adam Yoder
KENDALLVILLE – Superlatives aren’t enough, sometimes. IHSAA records are every time, though.
NorthWood senior Cybil Stillson made history on Friday afternoon with an eight-under par 62 at Noble Hawk Golf Links in the IHSAA East Noble Girls Golf Regional.
Nine birdies, one bogey. 62.
There were understandably a plethora of program records set by the Panther star, but one that stands alone at the top, literally, was that this was the lowest round of golf in the history of the IHSAA girls golf state tournament at any level and any location.
On the historic day, Stillson commented, “I was confident coming in as I’d played three solid rounds in my career in the regional here at Noble Hawk. I made some big putts and gave myself good opportunities for birdies. Coach (Adam) Yoder had to tell me what I shot after I walked off 18.
“I am so excited for the team to advancing to state for our fourth consecutive year.”
Oh, and if Stillson’s title and records weren’t enough, the Panthers continued their torrid post-season play by finishing second with a 320 to champion Homestead’s 295.
Senior Breanna Goss fired a 78 to finish in the top ten. Junior Riley Kitson shot 83 to finish in the top 15.
While the Panthers have leaned on those top three over the past few weeks, Bella Sechrist’s 97 and Kira Schrock’s 99 secured the runner-up finish to the Spartans. The Panthers finished 16 shots clear of the last state-qualifying spot earned by Penn’s 336 and 25 shots clear of Fort Wayne Carroll, who finished just out of a state berth with a 345 and earned fourth place honors.
Coach Yoder’s Panthers have now finished in the top five of the regional for the ninth straight season and qualified for the IHSAA State Finals for the sixth time in nine years.
“First, what Cybil did today was absolutely incredible,” began Yoder. “It was a joy to watch how she played and the sports-woman-like attitude she displayed. I’ve been wishing for her to have a ‘great round’ in comparison to her skill level. It’s been a long time coming, and she deserves that so much. So for today, I was thankful to sit back and watch IHSAA state tournament history.”
Yoder continued, “You’re talking about some big time D1 players and some professionals that have played in this tournament here and around the state in the last what, 40 years? I hope that truly gets noticed, because I don’t care where you’re playing from, you still have to hit shots and make putts. She certainly did that today.
“Lastly, Cybil should get a lot of attention today, no question. However, if you look at what we did two thru five, Cybil could have shot 24 shots worse, and we still get to state. That says a lot about Bre, Riley, Kira and Bella. How far we’ve come since our first week is truly remarkable.”
The Warsaw Tigers also took their shots at Noble Hawk on Saturday and finished ninth with a 376.
Olivia Robinson-Gay led the way for the Tigers with an 87. The ultra-improved sophomore was an All-NLC performer and one of the most improved players in the area this year.
Marie Frazzetta’s 92, Abbey Patterson’s 94, Delaney Byron’s 103, and Abigail Davis’s 106 rounded out the regional-qualifying team for David James’s squad.
Tippecanoe Valley’s Madelyn Weaver fired an 87, capping off a great season for herself and the Vikings.
The Wawasee Warriors were also represented in the regional by Rylee Firestone, who totaled a 91.
Individuals advancing to the IHSAA State Finals without a team included: Lillie Cone (DeKalb) 74, Selah Unwin (Mishawaka Marian) 74, Marissa Gerue (FW Carroll) 77, Anna Hutchings (Plymouth) 80, Karisa Dyer (Northridge) 81.
The IHSAA State Finals are slated for Prairie View Golf Club next Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1-2. Details will be updated on the IHSAA website after all regionals are completed Saturday.