Southwestern’s girls golf team won its third-straight ORVC championship on Saturday at Butler Falls. Members of the team are (from left): Front — Belle Crawford, Ellie Foley, Bella Marcum. Back — Shahala Brown, Kristin Consley, Adalyn Leach and coach David Bright. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Southwestern’s girls golf team won its third-straight ORVC championship on Saturday at Butler Falls. Members of the team are (from left): Front — Belle Crawford, Ellie Foley, Bella Marcum. Back — Shahala Brown, Kristin Consley, Adalyn Leach and coach David Bright. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Belle Crawford capped what had already been a good day with her first-ever hole-in-one to lead Southwestern to its third-straight Ohio River Valley Conference girls golf championship Saturday at Butler Falls Golf Course in Hanover.

Crawford was well on her way to earning medalist honors in the match when she stepped up to the tee on No. 4, her second-to-last hole on the day. She struck her shot well, but had no idea she had hit it perfectly.

“I didn’t think it was real at first. I knew it was a good shot, but we couldn’t find it on the green and we were looking everywhere,” Crawford said. “My dad jokingly said to go look in the hole because that’s only place it could be. So I looked in there, not expecting it to be in there and there it was. It was crazy.”

Despite the high of the feat — which included an excited call to her coach mid-round — Crawford was able to close out the tournament with an even-par on her final hole and finished with an 84 to claim low-medalist honors in the match.

“Thankfully it was my second-to-last hole and I held it together and parred the last one,” Crawford said with a smile. “But it was tough.”

“The one on that scorecard always helps, but she had a really good day,” Southwestern coach David Bright said. “An 84 here is a pretty good for her. She’s honestly been the hardest worker on the team and it shows. I’m really proud of her and I’m excited for her. The sky’s the limit for her.”

While Crawford was catching all the buzz after the match, her Southwestern teammates were almost as good. The Rebels took the top five positions on the leaderboard and had all five golfers break 100 on the day.

Ellie Foley shot an 89 to finish second overall while Kristin Consley had a 93, Shahala Brown had a 96 and Bella Marcum had a non-scoring 99. All five golfers earned all-conference status.

“Everybody did such a great job. Everybody shooting under a hundred is incredible,” Crawford said. “I’m more happy about how our whole team played than anything I did. I’m so proud of all of us.”

While the Rebels were the class of the field, it also shone a harsh light on the status of the sport within the ORVC.

Only five of the seven schools sent golfers to the event and Switzerland County was the only other school to field a complete team. Just a total of 16 golfers competed in the championship.

“Our girls are really improving and getting better but it’s also a sign that the conference is down right now,” Bright said. “To have seven schools in the conference and only two to field a team is not what you want for competition. But we’re happy with the team score and happy that we got all five under 100.”

Southwestern’s team score of 362 was over a hundred strokes better than runner-up Switzerland County, which shot a 474. Hailey Hines led the Pacers with a 111, Lily Williams had a 116, Josie Meyer had a 122 and Rori Ware had a 125.

Shawe’s Bailey Kilgore shot a 113 while Milan’s Hailey Smith shot a 102 and joined the five Southwestern Rebels on the all-conference team. Mackinze Deffinger had a 127 and Cami Prather had a 128 for the Indians. Annalise Boor had a 111 to lead Jac-Cen-Del while Tracy McKittrick had a 116 and Olivia Wagner had a 134 for the Eagles.

Neither Rising Sun nor South Ripley sent a golfer to the event.

While Southwestern has several matches over the next two weeks, starting with a match at Sunrise on Wednesday, its thoughts are already looking ahead to the IHSAA Sectional on Saturday, Sept. 21.

The Rebels have never won a sectional title in girls golf but this could be the year.

“We had two goals coming in and that was to win the conference and win the sectional,” Bright said. “That’s a little different than in previous years when we just wanted to advance to the regional. But we’ve got the team that can compete for that sectional trophy and it’s never happened before. The girls are really focused on that and they’ve really put in the work and are determined to do the best that we can to get to that point.”Belle Crawford capped what had already been a good day with her first-ever hole-in-one to lead Southwestern to its third-straight Ohio River Valley Conference girls golf championship Saturday at Butler Falls Golf Course in Hanover.