April 20, 2014

Elyria
Intermittent clouds
75°F
test

Niki Schroeder shoots 70 to win third straight Southwestern Conference title, lead Avon Lake to second straight

Niki Schroeder

Niki Schroeder

AVON LAKE — It’s business as usual, you know, same ol’, same ol’, in area girls golf.

Need proof?

Just take a look at Niki Schroeder — even if looks are misleading.

The Avon Lake junior is small in stature. But when it comes to area girls golf, she’s huge, as in amazing.
Wednesday afternoon at Sweetbriar Golf Course, Schroeder demolished the rest of the field to win the Southwestern Conference girls championship with a 2-under-par 70.

Not only was it her third straight individual SWC title, it also helped the Shoregals win their second straight team title.

Schroeder’s closest competitor, Olmsted Falls’ Ashley Gomez, had an 81. In the team competition, Avon Lake had 362 to easily beat Brecksville’s 388.
Katie Raby added an 88 for the Shoregals, good for third overall, while Summer Flemming had 96 and Emily Young 108.

Schroeder, who has already committed to play golf at Ohio State in two years, was characteristically understated about her play Wednesday.

“I hit the ball today pretty well, as well as straight, which is always good,” she said. “My strong suit was hitting approach shots.”

Take the par-5 eighth hole, for example, where she hit a 5-iron from 160 yards out to within 20 feet of the flag. Two putts later she had one of her six birdies, the others coming on holes 3, 6, 7, 14 and 16.

The gorgeous autumn day with almost no wind and temperatures in the low 70s was to Schroeder’s liking, as well.

“I loved the weather today,” she said, “especially because last year in this tournament it was raining.”

Schroeder won last year with a 77 and as a freshman with an 80. Her career low is a 67 she shot last year at Turkeyfoot Golf Course in Akron. Her low this season is a 69 at the Edison Invitational at Thunderbird Hills Golf Course in Huron.

After finishing second in last year’s Division I state tournament, she is clearly a favorite to get back there this season. Her first step toward that goal comes Tuesday in the Division I sectional, also at Sweetbriar.

“The girls worked hard,” Avon Lake coach Kevin Fitch said. “It was a team win. We had to focus this year on repeating and I’m proud of the girls. We had some tough duals this season, three of them decided by less than three strokes. Now we’ve got to focus on the sectional next week. In our favor, we’ll be
playing the same course with the same conditions.”

The Shoregals went 12-0 in SWC dual matches, completing their second straight undefeated league season. They’ll be trying for a sixth straight trip to districts.

Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS: Niki Schroeder, Avon Lake, 70 (33-37); Ashley Gomez, Olmsted Falls, 81 (43-38); Katie Raby, Avon Lake, 88 (46-42); Loren Kreider, Westlake, 92 (44-48), 92; Paige Coughlin, Brecksville, 95 (48-47); Karli Ring, Brecksville, 96 (45-51); Summer Flemming, Avon Lake, 96 (48-48).

TEAM SCORES: Avon Lake 362 (Schroeder 70, Raby 88, Flemming 96, Emily Young 108), Brecksville 388, Westlake 411, Olmsted Falls 419, North Olmsted 469, Amherst 503, Berea 519,