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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Homestead freshman Madi Dabagia is the Spartans' No. 1 player and set a school record in her first high school match with a 69 at Chestnut Hills this season.

  • Junior Morgan Dabagia has enjoyed playing with her sister, even when she beats her.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Madi Dabagia of Homestead reads the green on hole two Monday afternoon during a match against Huntington North.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Madi Dabagia of Homestead taps in a putt on hole two Monday afternoon during a match against Huntington North.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Morgan Dabagia of Homestead approaches a putt on hole nine during a match against Huntington North Monday afternoon at the Norwood Golf Club.

Friday, September 14, 2018 1:00 am

Spartans seizing chance

Have eyes on golf title in best season in history

ELIZABETH WYMAN | The Journal Gazette

Sectionals

Advancement to regionals: Top three teams who post a team score; ties for top three teams must be resolved in order to advance. Top three low individuals excluding those who advance with a team. Ties for third place must be played off in order to advance.

East Noble

Course: Cobblestone Golf Club

When: 9:30 a.m. Saturday

Teams: Carroll, Churubusco, Columbia City, Concord, East Noble, Fairfield, Goshen, Jimtown, Lakeland, Northridge, Prairie Heights, West Noble, Westview

Angola

Course: Zollner Golf Course

When: 9 a.m. Saturday

Teams: Angola, DeKalb, Blackhawk Christian, Concordia Lutheran, Bishop Dwenger, North Side, Northrop, Snider, Fremont, Garrett, Leo, Woodlan

Warsaw

Course: Stonehenge Golf & Country Club

When: 9 a.m. Saturday

Teams: Bremen, Caston, Lakeland Christian Academy, NorthWood, Plymouth, Rochester Community, Triton, Warsaw, Wawasee, Whitko

Norwell

Course: Timber Ridge Golf Course

When: 9 a.m. Saturday

Teams: Adams Central, Bellmont, Bluffton, Bishop Luers, Canterbury, South Side, Wayne, Heritage, Homestead, New Haven, Norwell, South Adams, Southern Wells

Eastbrook

Course: Arbor Trace Golf Club

When: 9 a.m. Saturday

Teams: Eastbrook, Huntington North, Madison-Grant, Manchester, Marion, Mississinewa, Northfield, Oak Hill, Southwood, Wabash 

Homestead girls golf has come a long way.

Five years ago, in Jeff Jehl's first season as a head coach, he took his team out to Zesto for ice cream when they shot a 380. It was a season best for the team.

On Aug. 11 at Foster Park, this year's Spartans shot a 280, even par for the first time in school history.

“As a coach, you know these girls can do these things,” Jehl said. “They're so capable, but to see these girls come together and do it, that was a real OMG moment.”

Homestead , ranked third in the state a few weeks ago, is coming off the best season in school history with a fifth-place state finish in 2017, the Spartans look capable of bettering that mark. With freshmen at the top two spots and veterans holding down the three other positions, Homestead is looking to become the first girls golf team from Fort Wayne to win state.

“I think this is the best team that we've ever had, and it's clearly a testament to the hard work that the girls put into it all the time,” Jehl said.

Freshman Madi Dabagia stamped her mark in the record book right away. In her first match, she tied the Homestead girls 18-hole record with a 3-under 69 at Chestnut Hills.

“It was a good feeling to know that we started out really well as a team,” Dabagia said. “My team really supported me.”

Dabagia's sister, junior Morgan, is excited her sister is on the team this year.

“It's fun, obviously there's kind of a rivalry, but you always want the other to do well,” Morgan said. “Even when she beats me, it's hard to be mad because she's helping my team.”

Simone Senk makes up the other half of the freshman pair. Jehl said Senk is unfazed by the pressure of competitive varsity golf.

During the State Preview Tournament on Aug. 4, the Spartans competed in an 18-team pool that included higher-ranked Zionsville and Evansville North. On the big stage, where freshmen tend to get nervous, Jehl said Senk performed strong under pressure.

“She wasn't hitting the ball her best, but she turned out a really good round there,” Jehl said. “She's got nerves of steel and she's just a player she can hit it.”

The team's lone senior in the top five is Sydney Rybolt. Already having her best season, Rybolt is ready for one final go at the state tournament.

“At state they award the top four, and I think by just missing out by a few strokes on placing was really hard on all of us (last year), and it just has kind of driven us to do our best and to really push us this season,” Rybolt said.

Jehl said Rybolt is the picture of consistency.

“Sydney never misses an opportunity to improve,” Jehl said “She's been a great example to the younger girls at what it takes to really lead and succeed as a varsity golfer.”

The Spartans compete in the Norwell Sectional on Saturday as the first stop in the road to state at Prairie View.

“Golf's a funny game; it all comes down to putting the ball in the hole,” Jehl said. “While golf is a team sport, it's a very individual game and I know and I trust that these girls will do everything they can to be golden when we need it.”

ewyman@jg.net