Women’s golf wins 11th straight title

Caleb Raubenolt

Team wins MAC Championships by 39 strokes

Sophomore Martina Gavier hugs freshman Mercedes Germino after Germino made her last putt on the 18th hole, making her the Mid-American Conference champion. Rachel Kilroy |Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

NASHPORT – Winning 11 consecutive conference titles is an impressive accomplishment. The Kent State women’s golf team achieved that over the weekend in dominating fashion.

The Flashes won this weekend’s Mid-American Conference Championship at Longaberger Golf Club by 39 strokes, with every golfer finishing in the top 10.

Going into yesterday’s final round, the Flashes held a 29-stroke lead atop the team leaderboard, well ahead of conference runner-up Eastern Michigan. And when Kent State sank its final putt of the day, that lead had been increased by the team’s lowest round of the tournament, a 4-over-par 292.

“What I’m really happy about is how well we played as a team (on) these last 18 holes on a hard golf course,” Kent State coach Mike Morrow said. “It was a really strong finish for the MAC Championships.”

In its 11th year as a program at Kent State, the women’s golf team has finished in first place every year in the conference tournament. The key to its streaking success, Morrow said, begins with strong leadership and consistency.

“When the young players come in, they see how the upperclassmen handle themselves and the expectations,” Morrow said. “They executed today. We don’t really make drastic changes, and we keep positive attitudes. Success breeds success.”

After dominating on the course, the Flashes impressed the crowd at the Longaberger Golf Club even more at the awards ceremony, with three team members earning conference awards.

Freshman Mercedes Germino, who won the tournament by one stroke over senior teammate Kirby Dreher, was named MAC Freshman of the Year. Dreher, who finished yesterday’s action with a tournament-low 71, earned MAC Player of the Year. Sophomore Martina Gavier, along with Dreher and Germino, was named to the MAC First Team.

With three holes remaining, Germino and Dreher were tied at 14-over-par for the top individual golfer. Dreher then carded a birdie on the par-5 16th hole, only to be answered by an eagle from Germino.

“I was so happy,” Germino said about making the shot. “In the hole before, I had a really bad hole, so I tried to take it easy and hit better.”

Along with Germino and Dreher, senior Maddi Swaney, Gavier and freshman Mandi Morrow all placed in the top 10.

“I’m very happy. I’m mostly happy for the team – we golfed amazing,” Germino said.

The MAC also honored Morrow with his ninth Coach of the Year award.

“I always say if we get a little better each day, these results will take care of themselves,” Morrow said. “I think a lot of people know how good we’ve been with our consistency over the years, and winning the conference championships is always a start.”

The women’s golf team will compete next at the NCAA Regionals from May 7 to May 9, with the location to be announced this afternoon.

“(Winning the MAC) is our first goal,” Morrow said. “Making it out of regionals (is another), and (so is) getting our highest finish ever at the national tournament.”

Contact sports reporter Caleb Raubenolt at [email protected].