Mathews freshman moves on to district

This moment has been years in the making for Emily Koehler.

“I’ve been playing golf since I was 2 and swinging a club since I could walk,” she said.

It helps that her dad, Jamie, owns the Vienna short holes. It’s been her oasis growing up. With a strong short game, thanks to her lifetime’s work on the Par 3s, Koehler shot an 84 at the Division II girls sectional at Pine Lake Golf Club in Hubbard on Wednesday.

The Mathews freshman advanced to next week’s district tournament at Tam O’Shanter in Canton.

“Emily’s practiced so much her entire life and so much this year,” said Greg Denovchek, Mathews golf coach. “She’s always at our practices early, her swing has come a long way and she has such a good work habit.”

Koehler, playing on the Mustangs boys team, has shot from the white tees for much of the fall.

“In summer tournaments I played from the reds, so I was used it it,” she said. “But it is different being up further.”

Koehler handled her first postseason varsity tournament with ease. She admitted there were nerves, but she was easily calmed playing her game.

“I wasn’t really quite sure what to expect,” she said. “Once I got going, I was pleased with my shots and very pleased with the results.”

Her next goal is advancing to state. After that, there’s another milestone.

“I haven’t quite beaten my dad yet,” she said. “I’ve come close but haven’t reached him. I’m not sure if we’ll be playing anytime soon because I’m focusing on finishing this season strong.”

Ursuline’s Sydney Heinbaugh shot an 85, Hubbard’s Skylar Ladig had an 89 and Taylor Coblentz of Crestview shot a 91. Those three girls also advanced individually.

Poland won the team sectional with a 382, one better than Columbiana. Cardinal Mooney placed fourth with a 391 and John F. Kennedy was fourth with a 406. Those four teams will advance to districts.

For Kennedy, Katie Hall paced the team with a 99, Terra O’Brien shot a 101, while Taylor Vassis and Alexis Eddy each had a 103.