Sharks’ Dross hopes third time is a charm

NCT senior Alexis Dross                                                                            Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
STATE GIRLS GOLF

Brooksville linksters seek

to top last season’s ninth-

place finish in Lake County

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

Nature Coast Technical’s girls’ golf team is the lone Hernando County representative in Friday’s 69th Class 2A FHSAA State Finals.

Despite not losing to any Hernando County squad, and capturing 2A-13 crown and finishing runner-up to stout Sunlake in regionals, there’s one more order of business.

After Thursday’s practice round, the Brooksville linksters will be severely challenged at the Howey-in-the-Hills’ Mission Inn and Resort, 10400 County Road 48, featuring the state’s finest 16 teams and top 16 individuals from Regions I-IV.

The event will wrap up Saturday (weather permitting) as the top two teams will be named state champion and state runner-up and the individual state champion will be crowned.

NCT: 3 starters back

Alexa Dono

NCT enters with three starters in tow, including seniors Alexis Dross and Alexa Dono.

Sophomore Annabelle Bennett is also back joining two freshmen: Emma Dunsmore and Sarah Mandes.

The Sharks top three players – Dross, Dono, Bennett – arrive as the circuit’s three lowest shooters.

Dross, a three-time state qualifier, is brimming with confidence. It helps when you’re the county’s scoring leader averaging 39.8 per nine holes.

It doesn’t hurt that the three-time All-County golfer is coming off back-to-back individual medalist honors in two of the ‘Big 3’ tourneys this post season: districts and regionals.

Dross, who carded a 97-92–189 total as a sophomore, finished 47th last fall behind a 36-hole 82-96—178 total.

In 2016, Dono managed a 116-120–236 total in her first attempt.

Last fall, Dono shaved 26 shots finishing 70th with 106-104—210 total.

In 2017, Bennett placed 81st behind a 116-113—239 total.

This time, Dono enters averaging 48.8 strokes while Bennett is averaging a 51.6.

The Sharks’ fourth player, Mandes, arrives averaging 66.9 while Dunsmore enters behind a nine-hole 74.9 clip.

NCT: chasing ghosts

Kelly Lagedrost

Hernando County’s first and only girls golf state championship was delivered by Hernando High in 1997 under skipper T.V. Chambers and led by USF standout and former individual state champion Kelly Lagedrost.

Fourth-year NCT mentor David Pisarcik, who has guided his team to a combined 34-1 dual-meet, highlighted by four Hernando County crowns, four district titles and two regional championships, understands this weekend’s event is in a league of its own.

David Pisarcik     Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

“When you get to states you find out there’s a reason why they (FHSAA) chose this course for the state finals,” he indicated. “It’s a shot- making course.

“… You have to be able to carry your shots, and place the ball. This course will test you as a golfer. It can eat teams alive,” warned Pisarcik.

On Dross’ chances to contend for a state title, “It’s her third time here. She comes in with confidence,” shared Pisarcik. “She came into the practice round with a positive mindset. Now, she needs to just go out there and have some fun.

“We’d like Alexis and all the girls to enjoy the experience. For our freshmen, it’s little different strategy. We’d like them to see how everything is and enjoy the experience. You never know whether you’ll get back here again.”

On the two goals for the team, “I’d love to see the team do well,” detailed Pisarcik. “I’d love to see Alexis play her way to a top-five conversation. She’s definitely got the shots in her bags to handle it.”

On the keys to departing Saturday with a successful finish, “For Alexis, she‘s gotta start well. That’ll build confidence. That‘ll set her up for a good round. In a tournament like this, you’ve gotta get the nerves out and remove obstacles to get off to a good start.”

On Dono’s chances, “Alexa has the game to compete, too. You never know if she can come in with the lowest score,” noted Pisarcik. “Weather-wise, it was pretty windy. But you can’t predict the weather this weekend. The elements will be the same for everybody.”

Dross: ‘Gotta play smart’

Alexis Dross

Though the NCT skipper believes the course will be difficult to tame, Dross disagrees.

“I don’t think this course is that difficult,” admitted the 17-year-old. “I know I have to play smart and play to the best of my potential.”

Dross overcame nerves with back-to-back wins in pressure-packed districts and regionals.

Since regionals, I’ve been practicing on my short game,” emphasized Dross. “I want to blow this tournament up. I’m walking in with the goal of winning it.”

Despite not having played 36 holes of competitive golf this season at the prep level, Dross revealed, “I’ve played 36 holes of golf before. I’ve played in a lot of tournaments. This (state finals) is nothing I’m scared of.”

AT A GLANCE

WHAT – 69th annual Class 2A FHSAA State Finals at Mission Inn and Resort’s Las Colinas course.

WHO – Top 16 teams and top 16 individuals from Regions I-IV featuring Hernando County’s first-ever regional championship team: Nature Coast Technical. Defending champion is Plantation-American Heritage while Southweast Ranches-Archbishop McCarthy is the defending state runner-up.

WHERE – Mission Inn and Resort, 10400 County Road 48, Howey-in-the-Hills.

WHEN – Friday-Saturday, Nov. 2-3. NCT begins play Friday morning at 10 a.m..

AT STAKE – Following the grueling, two-day, 36-hole event, the top two teams are named state champion and state runner-up and the individual state champion is feted.

2017 Final 68th FHSAA Class 2A State Finals

at Mission Inn & Resort’s Las Colinas Course at

Howey-in-the-Hills

Plantation-American Heritage Patriots
 

PL.

 

TEAM

 

36-HOLE TOTAL

1.

Plantation-American Heritage

304-298—602

2.

Southwest Ranches-Archbishop McCarthy

316-308—624

3.

Ponte Vedra

323-329—652

4.

St. Augustin-Nease

331-331—662

5.

Lynn Haven-Mosley

351-352—703

6.

Panama City Beach-Arnold

356-357—713

7.

Fort Myers-Estero

362-359—721

8.

Naples

361-371—732

 

9.

 

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

 

373-388761

10.

Orlando-Bishop Moore

379-393—772

10.

Tampa-King

375-397—772

12.

Auburndale

391-409—800

13.

Space Coast

427-421—848

14.

Groveland-South Lake

428-427—855

15.

Lecanto

430-426—856

16.

Zephyrhills

438-437—875

NATURE COAST TECHNICAL (373-388761) – 42. (T) Skylar Muscianese 86-90—176, 47. Alexis Dross 82-96—178, 60. (T) Dawn Posey 99-98—197, 70. Alexa Dono 106-104—210, 81. Annabelle Bennett 116-113—239.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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