McDonald golf cruises at Salem

Submitted photo McDonald High School’s golf team is pictured after winning Mineral Ridge William Moransky Golf Invitational trophy. Pictured from left, are Michael Porter, Calen O’Connell, Caleb Domitrovich, Anthony Ragazzine, coach Matt Vukovic and Matthew Porter.

Golf. It’s the game where one good shot keeps you coming back for more self-deprecating punishment.

McDonald High School’s golf team have let its shortcoming be its undoing during Division III district tournaments.

The Blue Devils used to let a couple bad holes ruin what would normally be a good round.

Not any more.

McDonald teed off on the competition en route to beating runner-up Columbiana, 338 to 350, at Wednesday’s Mineral Ridge William Moransky Golf Invitational at Salem Hills Golf Course.

Sophomore Caleb Domitrovich and junior Michael Porter led the field with 74 and 75, respectively.

Columbiana senior Tyler Andersen and Mineral Ridge senior Jake Sylak each carded 77s to tie for third.

McDonald didn’t let a few hiccups during the 18-hole round define their respective games.

“I talked to my team after the round,” sixth-year McDonald coach Matt Vukovic. “They had some rough spots. I think we showed a lot of maturity today. It was nice to see them grind through a few holes.”

Domitrovich and Porter, along with Sylak and Andersen, have been leading the Greatest Golfer outings this summer — improving their skill-sets.

Anthony Ragazzine, Matthew Porter and Calen O’Connell came through in the three through five spots Wednesday.

“Caleb and Michael wanted to set the tone for everyone else,” Vukovic said. “I feel that they’re putting in so much extra work and practicing on their games. We’ve had some really good teams, but we’ve never had two guys that can shoot around par on a regular basis. It’s made everyone contribute themselves.

“They all trust one another. I think they all know they’re capable of handing in good rounds.”

Scores like this don’t happen by accident. McDonald has been showing up for practices at the team’s home course, Mahoning Country Club, even when the gatherings weren’t mandatory.

“The attendance in practice has been amazing,” Vukovic said. “Big credit to them showing up every day and working hard.”

McDonald has never sent a team to state, coming close in district play. The Blue Devils sent an individual to district competition in 2016-17, but went as a team in 2018-19.

Getting to state this season is McDonald’s goal.

Brookfield has been Trumbull County’s dominant team the last couple of seasons in Division III. The Blue Devils don’t want to follow in the Warriors’ steps, but carve their own path.

“They’ve been more focused on being the first McDonald team to make it to state, not worry about what Brookfield did,” Vukovic said. “They’re more focused on what they’re doing themselves than on other teams and stuff — very self motivated.”

McDonald heads to Tannenhauf Golf Club in Alliance on Friday for the Marlington Invitational — the site of the Division III district tournament.

“We’re getting to longer courses to set us up for the rest of the year,” Vukovic said.


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