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Mooney’s Rapp takes another shot at state

Two years ago, then-Cardinal Mooney freshman Alyssa Rapp was a bit overwhelmed with everything that was going on around her in the Division II girls golf state tournament.

She was playing the Ohio State Gray course for the first time and her brother Alex, a senior at Poland, was in the boys state tournament that was being played on the Ohio State Scarlet course.

Rapp, one of five area golfers competing in state tournament competition today and Saturday, said that day was an unusual mix of excitement and oddity.

“It was weird,” she said. “I was a freshman competing against juniors and seniors and I was a little intimidated. Then, you throw in the fact that my parents were basically switching up, following each of us around the course. They’d switch about every four holes or something. I even saw my brother where the courses overlapped.

“It was memorable, but sort of strange. I’ve never known or heard of siblings both competing in the state tournament at the same time, same day. We were lucky that we were basically on side-by-side courses.”

Competing in the Division II boys tournament at OSU-Scarlet are Poland senior Luke Nord and West Branch senior Aiden Wiesemann. In Division III, Mineral Ridge senior Jake Sylak and McDonald sophomore Caleb Domitrovich will be in action at NorthStar.

Alyssa Rapp shot a two-round 203 two years ago when Mooney placed sixth (737) as a team. Alex, who now attends Notre Dame College where he continues to golf, was competing as an individual and carded a 160 to tie for 11th place.

Alyssa improved to a 175 total last season at OSU-Gray when Mooney tied for eighth as a team. Now her goal is a top-10 finish.

“This year is a little different, too,” Rapp said. “Every golfer is only allotted two tickets and every coach gets two tickets (due to COVID-19 restrictions). So my parents and Alex will be there, along with my coach (Mary Theresa Bellino) and her husband. But this is the first time I won’t have teammates to rely on and interact with. It kind of sucks not having teammates there for moral support.”

Rapp advanced by shooting a 71 in the district tournament Oct. 6 at Sable Creek. She finished in a tie for fourth overall and defeated Poland’s Sophia Yurich in a sudden-death playoff hole to earn the third and final state berth.

“I think I’ve grown a lot since my freshman year,” she said. “I put in a lot of work in between my freshman and sophomore years with my personal coach (Joe Allen). It showed in the difference in my scores. I also am more confident and mentally stronger. I triple-bogeyed my first hole at sectional this year and didn’t really bat an eye. I knew I could get it back and I birdied the next hole and finished with four birdies (for a fourth-place 82 at Pine Lakes on Sept. 28).”

Bellino has seen Rapp’s growth.

“She’s very focused and determined and just a joy to coach,” Bellino said. “She’s not easily distracted. She told me going into this season that her goal is to become a four-time state qualifier and I’d say she’s well on her way to that. We’ve talked about her being in the 160 range at state this year and I think she’s peaking at the right time. She averaged around 42 per nine holes in the regular season, but in the final weeks, she was almost always near 38 or 39. So she’s on target and we’d like to see her right around 160-somewhere.”

Nord will be making his second appearance at state for Poland. As a freshman, he joined Alex Rapp, among others, as the Bulldogs advanced as a team to state. The tournament was held at NorthStar in Sunbury that season.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to make it back there in my final chance,” Nord said. “It’s a great way to cap off my senior year. I’ve been wanting to make it back to state for a long time. Now that I have that chance and reached that goal, I really want to enjoy it more this time around. It’s going to be a fun experience. I’d say my goal is to reach the top eight so I can get a medal. I’d like to be around 82 in both rounds. But regardless, I’m going to have fun.”

His coach, David DiGiacomo, said he rarely knows what Nord is thinking.

“He’s so even-keeled. He just has a poker face all the time,” DiGiacomo said. “At district, I had to ask him what his score was. He didn’t look real happy, so I was concerned. Then he told me he shot a 76 (at Windmill Lakes on Oct. 6). He tied for second overall and was the No. 1 individual state qualifier. That’s just that calm demeanor that serves him well on the course.”

Wiesemann finished fourth at Windmill Lakes with a 77 and earned the third and final individual state berth. It’ll mark his second state appearance, after the Warriors competed as a team last season at NorthStar. He posted a 174 to tie for 45th as the Warriors finished 11th.

“Aiden looks like he should be playing football,” coach Matt Eddins said. “He’s 6-foot-2 and maybe 210 or 215 pounds, and he’s well-built. He absolutely pounds the ball and is relatively accurate with his driver. But he also has soft hands and gets up and down around the greens.

“He knows his ability and he’s going down there with the goal of winning it all. If he plays to his ability, he will definitely place near the top.”

Sylak and Domitrovich were tied for third (79) at the district at Tannenhauf on Oct. 8. Sylak won a playoff hole to be the first individual state qualifier and Domitrovich was the second qualifier.

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