Lemasters wins AAC title in playoff

WARREN – David Lemasters woke up Monday morning with one goal. He ended the day with one title plaque.

The Lakeview senior came into the All-American Conference, National Division golf championship just wanting to break 80. He shot 74 after 18 holes at Trumbull Country Club, but so did Newton Falls’ junior Jacob Harrah.

They needed a two-hole playoff on the 315-yard, par 4, No. 9 hole. After parring on the first go-around, Lemasters capped his victory with a birdie.

“I parred it and birdied it already,” Lemasters said. “I knew it pretty good, I guess.”

As a small gallery formed around the fairway, Lemasters felt the pressure as soon as he teed off, vying for the title.

“I was shaking on every shot,” he said. “It “I was shaking on every shot,” he said. “It was really nerve-wracking.”

Lemasters felt the nerves from the previous hole, No. 18 of the AAC championship round, as he missed a putt that would have tied Lakeview for the conference crown. Instead, Newton Falls won with a 320. The Bulldogs had a team total of 321.

“Hopefully we’re peaking at the right time,” Tigers coach Scott Kernan said. “We went through a mid-season lull, but I believe we’re playing our best golf right now.”

Sean Croell shot a 79, Zackery Berry had an 82 and Jon Stratkis rounded out with an 85.

“It was a little bit of a letdown at the end,” said Harrah about losing the playoff. “But everybody played great. I feel very good going into sectionals.”

The Tigers host a Division III sectional at Riverview next week, but still have dual matches against Campbell and Jefferson.

“The thing I like about this course,” Kernan said, “there’s a lot of sand. We don’t have that at Riverview. I don’t want to count my eggs before they’re hatched. If we play well and get out of sectionals, this test out of the sand is great to get ready for Tannenhauf.”

LaBrae finished third in the standings with a 328, led by Haylee Harford’s 78 and Grant Sprague’s 83. Surprisingly, Girard shot a 334 to finish fourth – snapping a long-standing conference winning streak. Mark Standohar shot a 75, while Evan and Jimmy Standohar each had an 83.

“I was shocked,” Harrah said. “They’re all good golfers. Two of their guys shooting in the 80s was a little surprising.

“We got them here, which is nice.”

Behind Kaylee Neumeister’s 89, Lakeview won the girls conference crown with an 89. Last year, the Bulldogs were second to Hubbard by four strokes.

“They kind of forget about that,” Lakeview coach Mike Turco said. “They’re happy to get this one. I’m proud of them. They were able to overcome a tough course with a tough layout.”

Ashley Frasca, the team’s normal No. 3, was out with an injury. Emily Lang stepped in to fill the void, while Ashley Lang shot a 98.

“That’s extremely impressive for a girl who has never played the course,” Turco said. “Overall, this team looks very strong.”

Lakeview’s sectional is at Punderson State Park. The Bulldogs still have a dual match at Canfield on Wednesday.