With a 50/50 chance of advancing from the Div. I Sycamore Springs sectional, Don Nardecchia’s club played nothing like they did over the last four weeks, finishing fourth in the team race, a bad spot when just three teams advance to the district next week.
Compounding the misery was the fact that the third place team was Mansfield Madison, a team Norwalk soundly trounced twice during the season, shutting them out 6-0 in a match play event and beating them by 12 strokes in a medal play match. Madison finished with 401 strokes Wednesday. Norwalk had 405.
The team medalist was Ashland with a 330. Findlay was second at 349.
“It all came down to the No. 5 player from Madison,” Nardecchia said. “As it turned out, she came up with the match of her life. She stood up and was recognized from the No. 5 position and that’s what it takes. That’s the reason five are in the lineup. Her team will long remember her contribution.”
Addie Mannino, one of three Norwalk seniors, carded a 99 on sides of 46-53. As bad luck would have it, that 99 missed moving on as an individual by one stroke.
Senior Ellie Schneider put 53-47—100 numbers on her card. She has not shot that high in weeks. In fact her stat sheet over the course of the season showed seven “others”, a term used to describe a hole that totaled more than a double bogey. Her card yesterday had six. It was that kind of day.
The third senior, Tanner Radcliffe shot 56-57—113. Nardecchia lauded her effort just for finishing as an equestrian while back injury flared up, making it painful to swing.
“I advised her to take no practice swings in an effort to try and finish,” Nardecchia said. “And finishing those last half-dozen holes was done on pure guts.”
Junior Bethany Cring shot 53-50—103, the same total as sophomore Ana Little (51-52—103).
“This team will not be remembered for what it did today,” Nardecchia said. “It will take me a while to tabulate all the numbers on the season but I already know that they have at least a half-dozen team scoring records and many of the individual marks will also fall.”
Nardecchia, who coached his last match at Arlington yesterday, feels the program is in good hands with one of his two assistants probably being elevated to the head coaching position.
The program loses five seniors, the three that start, along with Darian Brooks and Shayla Mendez.
“Sophomore Madison Duncan has shown promise as has freshmen Hannah Dumbeck,” Nardecchia said. “Junior Bella Blaney comes to us by way of Colorado but not in time to help us this year. Those three look to be heir apparent to those three varsity spots.”