HS GOLF: Elk Lake’s Xxxx Opens Eyes At Girls Jackman

August 22, 2018

MOUNT COBB — It’s about an hour ride from Elk Lake to get to Scranton Municipal Golf Course, site of the Irving Jackman Memorial girls golf tournament. For Taegan Mills, however, the journey was much longer. The sophomore, who began playing golf just two years ago, carded the fourth-lowest score Tuesday, an 83, to finish four shots behind individual champion Anna McCormick of Central Dauphin. Mills took lessons from her uncle in Georgia over the summer, then returned home for Elk Lake’s team camp at A Swing for Life Golf Academy, as well as individual lessons with Scotty McAlarney, Mid Valley’s golf coach. She also traveled to Florida to take lessons from the man who taught her uncle to play. “It’s a lot of driving,” Mills said. And a lot of drive. Her determination helped her post the lowest score from any Lackawanna League player in a record field of 57 contestants. “It’s outstanding,” Elk Lake coach Ryan Kiper said. “She’s done a lot of work. After practice, she’s at home hitting more balls in her yard.” Mills won the low sophomore trophy, and wasn’t the only player to take home hardware. Mid Valley’s Mariah Minter shot 87 and was the low senior. Mills’ teammate, Chloe Sipe, posted 87 and was the low freshman, and Abington Heights’ Elizabeth Franchetti carded 97 and was the second low freshman. For someone playing since late in eighth grade, Mills has made great strides. “It’s been a couple of years, going back and forth, getting lessons from my uncle at Brookfield Country Club, just north of Atlanta, and just working really hard to get to this point. “I’ve been feeling comfortable, just pushing and I’m ready. The coaches have seen it and things just started clicking.” She recorded three birdies in her round, on the par-5 first and 13th, and on the par-3 12th. “It was pretty good,” Mills said. “I was really happy with them (back-to-back birdies). Some spots were a little rough. I feel like I was chipping and putting well.” It left her with a feeling that better days are ahead. “There’s definitely more game in me,” Mills said. “I’m ready. I feel like I can keep going. I feel like I have more. You can always get better. “Just little things here and there, getting more consistent. It felt really good.” Seen it before McCormick was a freshman when Central Dauphin came to the Jackman for the first time, and teammate Alexis Hartwick took home individual honors. She became the second Lady Rams player to win with a solid 7-over score. “It’s a great feeling,” McCormick said. “I remember being a freshman and seeing one of my senior teammates take it. It’s kind of interesting how it’s come full circle and then I got to do the same and represent that for my school as well. “Alexis was a phenomenal player and it’s nice to put my name up next to hers.” Solid play with the driver helped her edge Hazleton Area’s Grace Babinchak, the low junior, by a stroke. “Off the tee, you are not getting much,” McCormick said. “You’re hitting and you’re plugging. I had a few that were plugged and I had to dig them out with my tee. “I think I had a lot of solid drives. I used my driver to my advantage. I know I didn’t get much roll but I used that to put myself in a solid position for my approach shots.” She also used course knowledge to her advantage. “It helped so much knowing your way around the golf course,” McCormick said. “It’s very helpful when you have the knowledge of what the hole is. It goes in the back of your head so that you know when you get up to your second shot, I know I exactly where they’re supposed to go.” Cougars roar Babinchak not only fired the day’s second-best round, she led Hazleton Area to the team championship, winning a three-player, one-hole playoff with Central Dauphin after both teams tied with a 247 total. “When we were going up there, we were all trying to calm ourselves down a little bit,” Babinchak said. “I think it helped that we had a team playoff and we were able to help each other and make sure our putts were aligned right and everything. So I think that helped calm the nerves.” Hazleton won the playoff by two strokes, 15-17, and Babinchak had not only a low junior trophy to tote home, but a team trophy, too. “I knew there was a low junior,” Babinchak said. “I didn’t expect to win it or anything, but I also didn’t know there was a trophy for the team championship. So I didn’t expect all of this. She expects the victory to not only improve confidence, but to help with numbers in the program. “I knew there was a low junior,” Babinchak said. “I didn’t expect to win it or anything, but I also didn’t know there was a trophy for the team championship. So I didn’t expect all of this. “I think it boosts our team confidence. We have a couple girls coming out this year and I think seeing us win something gets them a little more excited to play. We had four players; now we have nine.” Contact the writer: mmyers@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100, ext. 5437; @mmyers TT on Twitter GIRLS JACKMAN INDIVIDUAL SCORES At Scranton Muni, par 72 Anna McCormick, Central Dauphin 79 Grace Babinchak, Hazleton Area 80 Bella Recce, Central Dauphin 82 Taegan Mills, Elk Lake 83 Marin Dremock, Hazleton Area 83 Isabell Ritz, Hazleton Area 84 Isabell Ritz, Hazleton Area 84 Lena Recce, Central Dauphin 86 Chloe Sipe, Elk Lake 87 Mariah Minter, Mid Valley 87 Sam Gress, Central Dauphin 88 Audrey Weigl, Central Dauphin 95 Elizabeth Franchetti, Abington Hts. 97 Mary Kate Yatsonsky, N. Pocono 100 Payton Sremcich, Central Dauphin 101 Kayla Taninnies,Honesdale 103 Hanna Mater, Central Dauphin 103 Leah Vene, Central Dauphin 103 Alivia Miesowitz, Hazleton Area 104 Sami Cooper, Central Dauphin 105 Lily MacKarey, Scranton Prep 107 Rachael Wall, N. Pocono 109 Sabrina Cimoch, Scranton Prep 109 Jade Krause, Valley View 109 Samantha Zolin, Scranton Prep 112 Caitlyn Sotack, Hazleton Area 112 Emily Martin, Valley View 113 Annaliese Dainte, Valley View 115 Giovanna Cerminaro, Holy Cross 115 Zoey Sremcich, Central Dauphin 117 Amanda Rzucidlo, Lakeland 117 Elle King, Dunmore 118 Marilyn Butler, Scranton Prep 118 Isabella Seratch, Hazleton Area 118 Hannah Lisowski, Old Forge 120 Julia Goetz, Holy Cross 120 Reese Warriner, Elk Lake 124 Maddie Franceski, Holy Cross 124 Erin Pearsall, Holy Cross 124 Allison Mayer, Dunmore 125 Brea Pigatt, N. Pocono 125 Abbey Nee, Old Forge 125 Kaitlyn Idhaw, Holy Cross 125 Maggy Dickson, Scranton Prep 126 Caroline Strack, Montrose 127 Theresa Vaccaro, Montrose 127 Madison Youshock, N. Pocono 127 Alexis Hawley, Montrose 128 Gianna Adomiak, Old Forge 129 Cate McGovern, Holy Cross 130 Cassandra Nocera, Old Forge 131 Gabby Baker, Montrose 134 Kalvin Jeffers, Old Forge 138 Abby Luongo, Dunmore 139 Payton LaRue, Elk Lake 139 Kaley Maday, Valley View 139 Ava Murazzi, N. Pocono 140 Katie Capooci, Dunmore 141 Low senior Mariah Minter, Mid Valley 87 Sam Gress, Cent. Dauphin 88 Low junior Grace Babinchak, Hazleton 80 Bella Recce, Cent. Dauphin 82 Low sophomore Taegan Mills, Elk Lake 83 Isabell Ritz, Hazleton 84 Low freshman Chloe Sipe, Elk Lake 87 Elizabeth Franchetti, Abington Hts. 97 Team scoring *Hazleton (247): Babinchak 80, Dremock 83, Ritz 84 Central Dauphin (247): McCormick 79, Recce 82, Reese 86 Elk Lake (294): Mills 83, Sipe 87, Warriner 124 Scranton Prep (328): MacKarey 107, Cimoch 109, Zolin 112 North Pocono (334): Yatsonsky 100, Wall 109, Pigatt 125 Holy Cross (359): Cerminaro 115, Goetz 120, Franceski 124 Old Forge (374): Lisowski 120, Nee 125, Adomiak 129 Dunmore (382): King 118, Mayer 125, Luongo 139 * Won on first playoff hole

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