UNIONTOWN — One is about to go her separate way. The other two return, but must tackle a huge challenge this fall.
Marlington's Maria Warner, Jayden Mitchell and Zoe Mort can take comfort in this: The memories of a great 2021 high school golf season will last a lifetime.
It was no surprise to see the Dukes' trio post the three best girls scores in Monday's First Tee of Canton Junior Tour event at Raintree. Warner, Mitchell and Mort led Marlington to a Division II state runner-up finish a year ago. The Dukes held the lead after the first round.
Warner and Mitchell also played on Marlington's 2019 state runner-up team.
"I've had so much fun," said Warner, who will be a senior this season. "I just love my team.
"When I was a freshman, my sister (Bella) was on the team. My sophomore year we weren't as good, but still did fine. Then junior year, it was so much fun going to state.
"I guess it's high expectations, but it's worth it. You have something to work for."
Warner shot 83 Monday to win the girls ages 16-18 division title. Mitchell finished second at 86.
Mort also shot 86 to win the 13-15 division. It was Mort's breakthrough freshman season last fall that helped the Dukes become title contenders again.
"She was another scorer you could always count on," Mitchell said. "She was never going to come in with a bad score."
Mort was the medalist at last year's Eastern Buckeye Conferece/Tri-League Tournament and the EBC Player of the Year. She finished third at the sectional and district tournaments and tied for ninth at state.
"I didn't know my season was going to be that good," Mort said. "I ended up breaking five school records, I think. I was kind of surprised, but I worked really hard for it."
Mort, Mitchell and Warner were a formidable trio for the Dukes. Mitchell and Warner shared medalist honors and Mort finished sixth for at the sectional tournament. Mitchell finished third, Mort tied for fifth and Warner tied for seventh at districts. Warner tied for fifth and Mitchell came in 11th at state.
"We all could keep that consistency," Mort said. "Maria and Jayden also made it fun. We went out there and just played."
The only thing keeping the Dukes from becoming state champions was Lima Central Catholic. The Thunderbirds rallied in the final round and beat Marlington by 12 shots. They also finished 11 shots ahead of the Dukes in the race for 2019 state title.
"The second time hurt a little more," Mitchell said. "It was my last chance, and we were actually winning after the first day. I shot even par on my last nine, but it wasn't enough.
"It was still fun."
Mitchell will be heading to Malone University to play golf for the Pioneers. Warner and Mort return to Marlington this fall.
Mitchell's departure is just one reason why contending for a state title will be tougher.
"We're Division I now," Warner said.
With talented players such as Mort and Warner leading the way, the Dukes will be ready for the challenge.
Raffaele Scassa, Daniel Gambone break 80 in wins
Jackson freshman Raffaele Scassa shot a tournament-low 78 to win the boys ages 13-15 division. Hoover sophomore Daniel Gambone fired a 79 to win the 16-18 division. Gambone chose to play in the oldest division despite being just 15 years old.
Cade Allen was the boys 10-12 division champion with a 38 over nine holes. Frankie Hutzler won the girls 10-12 division with a 44.
Reach Mike at email@example.com
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FIRST TEE OF CANTON JUNIOR TOUR
At Raintree Golf & Event Center
1, Daniel Gambone 79; 2, Matthew Caldwell 84; 3, Jack Mayle 86; 4, Tyler DeRoy 88; 5, (tie) Nathan Varner 90, Grant Price 90; 7, Evan Back 93; 8, Colin Whitmer 99; 9, Andrew Arway 101; 10, Caleb Harsh 104; 11, Sam Boyles 109
1, Raffaele Scassa 78; 2, Evan Jordanides 86; 3, Dayne Bontrager 87; 4, Dylab Suboticki 88; 5, James Yoder 90; 6, (tie) Kyle Hein 93, Carter Russell 93; 8, (tie) David Barret 94, Eddie Karam 94; 10, Anthony Swigart 96; 11, Mason Campbell 98; 12, Trenton Shrock 101; 13, Hayden Bunner 105; 14, (tie) Dylan Bourquin 106, Caden Timpe 106; 16, Henry Self 111; 17, (tie) Seth Anderson 112, Owen Casper 112, Nolan Troyer 112; 20, Jonny Stephan 121; 21, Vance Vargas 129; 22, Fritz Houston 132
Ages 10-12 (9 holes)
1, Cade Allen 38; 2, (tie) Noah Ickes 39, Anthony Gambone 39; 4, Benjamin Wood 55; 5, Carter Thorn 56; 6, Brock Shocklee 62; 7, Lucas Dragomier 74; 8, Ethan Carman 75
1, Maria Warner 83; 2, Jayden Mitchell 86; 3, (tie) Campbell Young 91, Peyton Biery 91; 5, Cami Shanget 93; 6, Nina Shaffer 97; 7, Audrey Nichols 98; 8, Sydnee Shocklee 101; 9, Isabella Grails 102; 10, Kelsey Nieman 108; 11, Anna Myers 110; 12, Leah Starcher 113
1, Zoe Mort 86; 2, Ellie Hutzler 88; 3, Ava Kemp 89; 4, Kylie Porter 92; 5, Francesca Hatheway 101; 6, Milena Grametbauer 103; 7, Lauren Brown 109; 8, Leah Dang 113; 9, Maranda Bille 121; 10, Brooke Shocklee 135
Ages 10-12 (9 holes)
1, Frankie Hutzler 44; 2, Charlie Brophy 57; 3, (tie) Gia Remark 60, Olivia Dougherty 60; 5, (tie) Kaelyn Harper 75 Reagan Harbert 75
This article originally appeared on The Repository: Maria Warner, Jayden Mitchell and Zoe Mort reflect on Marlington girls golf run