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Family affair at Eagle Creek has Norwalk twist

BY DON HOHLER • Sep 29, 2016 at 5:30 PM

NORWALK – It was Schneider vs Schneider. Sister vs sister Wednesday afternoon at Eagle Creek.

It all came about when Norwalk Trucker girl’s coach Don Nardecchia was looking for a solid opponent as a warm-up to his team’s sectional tournament next week. He struck on the possibility that the Findlay High School team, coached by the recently-graduated (Findlay University) Hannah Schneider, might have an open date and come to The Creek to face his ladies, one of them Hannah’s sister, Ellie.

As it turned out, the only thing standing in their way might have been the weather and that turned out to be no problem.

Hannah Schneider, after four successful years on the Findlay University team, remains very much into golf as she not only has the Findlay High ladies but is also a graduate assistant in golf at the university.

“It’s been a whirlwind four years,” the diminutive Schneider admitted. “My original plan was to quickly exercise my education degree with an elementary teaching job but things have happened so fast in golf that I have not had a chance at the former. My hope is that something will open in the Findlay school system over the summer so I can continue to continue to do this double-dip in coaching.”

“This is a real treat for me and my gals this afternoon,” she assured. “Not only do I get a chance to get back to Eagle Creek, see Mom and Dad and the family, but also get a look at what we face in this Norwalk team on Wednesday at Sycamore Springs in Arlington.”

Schneider hit the University of Findlay at the right time. She was on a team that made it to two NCAA Tournaments, a fete that seldom happens, two trips to the big show in a four-year career.

“Nothing rivals the excitement of playing in a NCAATournament,” she assured.

If anything did rival the NCAA, it might have been Wednesday when she brought her team in to play at a venue where not only she set records but also played the course that her father played No. 1 on his high school team, her grandfather, Steve, won two club championships, and her great-grandfather and great-grandmother are remembered as pillars of the Elks Club course.

“Plus, it will be exciting to see how much Ellie has improved over her four years,” Hannah stated. “I didn’t think she was that good until I saw what she is shooting. She tied by 9-hole school record of 38 last weeks so she must be doing a lot of things right. I am happy for her.”

The soft-spoken but ever-smiling Ellie labeled her season as “going well”.

The three-year letter-winner would like nothing better than to reduce that school record by one more stroke but admits time is running out.

Whether or not she will continue golf at Shawnee University (Portsmouth, OH) remains to be seen. Her dental hygiene major would appear to be taking precedent.

Ellie admits that it takes her “A game” to beat her older sister but in the background her grandmother was quick to answer, “Ellie has game”.”

The Schneider sisters come by the sport naturally. Their father, Eric, played No. 1 for the late Jim Denos and even was the District Tournament medalist at Westbrook one year. Not so much with mother, Judy. She is the family cheerleader.

Grandfather, Steve, played for both Jerry Druppel and Bob Gullett while a Trucker. He was on a solid team, one that had him playing No. 4 behind the likes of Kevin Young, Billy Terry and Tim Fauber. Before it was over, he passed two of the three up. Terry still plays well but Schneider played well enough over the years to win club championships at the Elks Club course in 1977 and 1984.

Nardecchia saw Hannah as a fierce competitor both in golf and basketball. Ellie was more laid back, allowing the sport to come to her. Both had dispositions second to none, however.

“Ellie came to me as a social-butterfly as a freshman,” Nardecchia remembered. “And her golf game mirrored that. But, by the end of the year, she was taking more pride in her ball-striking. She got a lot more serious as a sophomore and one can see how serious she has gotten over the last two years. She has made herself into a very nice golfer, one that has proven to be consistently-consistent.”

Hannah was very good early in her career. She was the consummate practice player.

“There were times I would let her practice by herself because David Morgan was teaching her drills beyond those taught to high school girls. She was that disciplined. Little wonder she elevated her game to that of a top-notch college player.”

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