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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
By DOUG KATES and STEVE LEE
Published October 11, 2006
CLEARWATER - Northside Christian coach D.J. Jackson describes freshman Ryan Ashburn as "a fierce competitor."
Fierce is one reason she is now a two-time district champion and fierce also is the reason Ashburn could be a five-time champion by the time her high school career is over.
"Setting goals is good," Jackson said. "If anyone can do it (five titles), Ryan is that person. She always expects the best out of herself."
Ashburn defended her first district title Tuesday with even-par 71 at the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club. She finished with a five-stroke margin of victory over teammates Morgan Jackson and Alexandra Newell and Indian Rocks Christian's Emily Boyer.
Ashburn was 1 under through four holes, but ran into trouble on the next two. She found herself 2 over and knew it was time for a pep talk. She told herself to get her second shots closer to the cup. The advice worked immediately on the par-5 No. 7, where she shot eagle with a 10-15 foot putt.
"Something clicked," she said. "I was starting to be more positive and more focused."
A 36 on the front nine and 35 on the back nine did the trick and Ashburn wasn't afraid to talk about three more titles in the future.
"That's my goal," she said. "That would be nice."
As a team, Northside's top four shot 316 for the school's third consecutive team title. Courtney Kuntz chipped in with 93.
Indian Rocks Christian finished second with 391 and Clearwater Central Catholic was third with 470.
2a-5 Largo's Jensen takes first step toward state berth
CLEARWATER - The way Evan Jensen sees it, she has some unfinished business to take care of at the state tournament.
Her journey back to state began Tuesday after winning the district championship at the Belleview Biltmore Golf Course. The Largo junior fired even-par 71 to edge Seminole's Meghan Chapman by four strokes.
Now Jensen can aim for her third straight region title, then get back to state where she was the runner-up in her first try, but fell to 28th in her second.
At districts, there were only seven competitors and not a lot of pressure. It left Jensen with a lot of time to figure out how to correct last year's setback.
"Today we knew everyone was already advancing to regionals, so we just had fun," she said. "The goal is to win states. I need two solid rounds of competition."
St. Petersburg was the only school that fielded a full team and therefore qualified as a team for regionals. Sayhyon Cho led her teammates with a third-place finish, followed by Alex Amor, Valerie Diaz, Tori Hambleton and Becky Finnergan.
- DOUG KATES, Times correspondent
2a-12 East Lake's Wenglasz just misses medalist honors
TRINITY - Emily Van Etten went from district runnerup last season to medalist Tuesday, leading Mitchell to the team title.
The senior lowered her score from last year by seven strokes to shoot 38-34-72 at Heritage Springs. East Lake's Whitney Wenglasz also shot 72, but had 36s on the front and back nines. Van Etten won the tiebreaker, which was the back nine score.
Afterward, a subdued Van Etten was not overly thrilled with her tally.
"I three-putted No. 1 and if I wouldn't have done that I would have been (solely) in first place," she said. "I'm not extremely disappointed, but I should have done better."
For her part, Wenglasz was ambivalent about second.
"I would rather have a playoff, because that's my competitive spirit," she said, "but I'm a little tired."
Mitchell, a district runnerup last year, will be joined at regionals by Palm Harbor University, the defending district champ, and third-place East Lake.
"I had chills when we started to see the scores put up," Mitchell coach Joe Castellano said. "It's exciting."
Mitchell teammates joining Van Etten at regionals will be her sister, Megan (79), Jackie Sendker (95) and Victoria Kinney (101). Individually, Tarpon Springs' Elizabeth Gillette, Countryside's Hana Koba and Gulf's Bailey Logan qualified as the top three not on a region qualifier team.