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High school teammates back together on YSU women’s golf team

BOARDMAN — Golf season is back in swing on the collegiate level and the Youngstown State Women’s Golf walked away as winners in the Roseann Schwartz Invitational at the Mill Creek Golf Course Tuesday afternoon.

“To be able to come out here on our home course, get off to that strong of a start, it feels great.” YSU coach Nate Miklos said. “Unbelievable individual performances. (I’m) just really pleased with where we’re at as a team.”

The Penguins ended the two-day tournament with a team score of 583, which was 36 strokes better than second-place Cleveland State. Sophomores Victoria Grans and Puthita Khuanrudee both tied for first individually with a score of 144.

Two former Boardman Spartans competed in the tournament — YSU sophomores Britney Jonda and Jenna Vivo.

“We’ve known each other since we started doing golf tournaments when we were in middle school.” Vivo said. “I really think it helps team chemistry a lot. It really helped us knowing each other, and coming in, we build off our friendship. We made a lot of other friends with our teammates.”

“I think it helped us a lot. I’m so glad she’s my teammate.”

Vivo played basketball in seventh grade for the Spartans and Jonda was the team’s basketball manager at the time.

The recruitment process is a grind for both coaches and athletes, but the two friends ended up going to the same college — even with other teams trying to recruit them.

“Jenna, she had a really solid high school career,” Miklos said. “So we had our eye on her fairly early. We were very excited when she committed. Britney, we were kinda fortunate to add her a little bit later in the recruiting process. They’re both unbelievable ladies. They bring so much to the team, both on and off the course. We love having them.”

For Jonda, going to YSU meant being able to compete with a high school friend.

“I picked YSU because it was 20 minutes away from home,” she said. “I know it wasn’t far, and I knew Jenna was going to be on the team, and just being a teammate with her again. I just felt like it was an honor.”

Jonda carded a 78 on Monday, finishing with a 161. Shooting a 78 was a big step forward for her.

“Just to be able to play for YSU and everything, and going out and shooting my lowest round, I think it’s just an honor and a great experience,” Jonda said “(My goals are to) just have confidence and just do my best, that’s all that matters.”

Vivo ended the two-day event with a score of 156, which was good enough to place her 10th out of 40 golfers. She wanted to see improvement, her team do well in the spring, along with winning a Horizon League title.

“I played pretty solid, I have a lot of other things to work on right now.” she said. “My game is not where I want it to be at the moment, but, (there’s) always something to look forward to and can improve.

“Last year I was very close to making the All-Horizon League team, and I want to make that again this year.”

Miklos felt Vivo and Jonda being teammates in high school helped them adapt to college life easier.

“With the two of them, they’ve known each other well for years and have been really good friends,” Miklos said. “They were probably a step ahead of a lot of the other players in that respect, making it a little bit easier when it comes to just building that team chemistry for everybody.”

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