Woodridge junior golfer Michael Walter is a state qualifier, and an increase in confidence is a major reason why.
Walter was not a shoo-in to make the Division II state boys golf tournament a few weeks ago. In fact, Walter barely made it into the district tournament after carding a 13-over-par 83 at the sectional tournament at Forest Hills Golf Course in Elyria.
He responded last week by compiling a 1-under-par 69 to win the district tournament at Windmill Lakes Golf Course in Ravenna and advance to play for a state title Friday and Saturday at NorthStar Golf Club in Sunbury.
“I just think he got very hot and he got confident, and before you know it he is shooting a 69 at Windmill Lakes.” Woodridge coach Dave Krusinski said. “That is a very good score on a tough course that measured out to around 7,000 yards.
“Michael has lettered for me since his freshman year. He plays quite a bit of golf. The thing that he always needed was confidence. His confidence has increased a lot.”
Walter was a district qualifier because Woodridge qualified as a team. The play of juniors Clay Ralston, Aaron Westphal, Andrew Syx and Mike Seminatore, coupled with Walter was good enough to get past the sectional, but not good enough to get past the district.
“He is grateful that his team got him to the district tournament,” Krusinski said. “They got him there and then he put himself into the state tournament as an individual.”
Walter, 17, has been playing baseball since age 6 and golf since age 10. He has lettered in each sport at Woodridge since his freshman year, and has been an All-Portage Trail Conference County Division first-team selection as a sophomore and junior.
“It’s been real awesome and cool to have this experience,” Walter said. “I was expecting to do well last week, but I wasn’t expecting to shoot under par. I had never shot under par in a full 18-hole tournament.”
Walter’s 69 gave him his first 18-hole tournament victory as a high school player.
“Ever since my district round, it’s really been nice and I have more confidence in my game,” Walter said. “I’m hoping to finish in the top 10 and get All-Ohio [status]. I want to play well and really enjoy the experience.”
Walter started on No. 10 at Windmill Lakes. He bogeyed 14 and made birdies on 1 and 4.
Walter tied for sixth in the PTC County tournament and was fourth in a Twinsburg Invitational this season, and finished 10th in the Good Park Junior Golf Tournament Championship Flight in 2012.
Cross country Saturday
The City Series and Suburban League will hold their annual championship meets on Saturday at Goodyear Heights Metro Park.
The City Series girls meet starts at 11 a.m., and the boys meet will start at 11:30 a.m.
Based on duals, Buchtel, Ellet and Firestone shared the regular-season girls title, and East, Ellet and Firestone shared the regular-season boys title.
Firestone has won the past 10 team championship meet titles on the boys side. Ellet won the girls team title last year.
The Suburban League boys meet starts at 1 p.m., and the girls meet starts at 1:30 p.m.
Nordonia won both the girls and boys team titles at last year’s meet. Both individual champions from last year, Tallmadge senior Patrick Ferguson and Nordonia junior Leah Vasarhelyi, are slated to return.
No. 800 for McKinley
Canton McKinley won its 800th football game Friday night with a 53-45 win at Jackson.
Junior quarterback Eric Glover-Williams, an Ohio State University recruit, rushed for four touchdowns in the Federal League victory. Senior Jarrod Smith rushed for two Bulldogs touchdowns, junior Bryce Short added one other rushing touchdown and senor Tavontae Norwood returned an interception for a touchdown.
McKinley played its first game in 1894 and has a record of 800-331-42 since. The Bulldogs have won three state championships (1981, 1997, 1998) since 1972, when the state started having playoffs. The Bulldogs were state runner-up in 1977, 1985 and 2004.
McKinley won seven poll titles before there were playoffs in 1920, 1927, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1955 and 1956. The Bulldogs were also poll state runner-up in 1964 and 1968.
The McKinley football program has produced hundreds of All-Ohio players and several players who have played in college and in the NFL.
McKinley hosts GlenOak at 7:30 Saturday night at Fawcett Stadium.
The Summit County Cross Country Coaches Association selected its annual runners of the week. The recent recipients are Chris Onyak of Copley and Katie Fobean of Stow.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.