Hoover, Ekoniak lead Greatest juniors champs

The 12th annual Joe Dickey Electric Junior championship wrapped Sunday Squaw Creek. Kaitlyn Hoover of New Wilmington captured the U17 Girl’s title with a two-day total of 153 (71-82). Behind Hoover was Matilyn Zines of United, posting a 162 (82-80) to claim second place, Jocelyn Zhao of Canfield took third, also posting a 162 (78-84).

Kate Sowers of West Middlesex, won the U14 Girls championship posting a solid score of 72. Followed by Aubree Philibin of Canfield, who shot 84. Lindsey Hoover of New Wilmington wasn’t far behind and claimed third place with an 89.

Chaz Ekoniak, of Struthers, led the field both days and claimed the victory of the U17 Boys posting a 155 (76-79). Nolan Foelich of Ursuline shot a consistent two-day score of 160 (80-80) to take second in the division. Close behind was Luke Rupeka, Warren JFK, who took third place posting a 182 (81-81).

Dante Turner from Cardinal Mooney won U14 boys division after posting a 74 and winning in a two-hole playoff. Alexander Eckstien of Cardinal Mooney battled in the two-hole playoff after shooting a 74 as well. Third place was claimed by Mick Ambrose of Canfield, with a 79.

“It feels really great to be holding one of these trophies,” Hoover said. To prepare for her victory she worked and focused on her mental game and short game practice. “This tournament showed me the amount of potential I have, how much I have grown throughout the summer and really prepared me for my high school season.” Hoover will compete during her Junior year for New Wilmington High School.

“Golf is my favorite thing to do, I like going onto the course and just having fun,” said Sowers. “Key to my game was putting, and my driver; everything was good.” Of the rain, she said: “it’s manage conditions. Stay dry and kept focusing.”

“Golf is a big part of my life,” said Ekoniak. “Greatest Golfer makes it happen, really. It’s laid back, but done right and it’s fun to play. Football was my main focus. But I started to improve (in golf) and it turned into golf. The word “champion” won’t affect me that much; I just stay humble.”

“Two (playoff) holes …. there’s a feeling in your stomach, the mentality you have to go into, just keeping it smooth, hit the ball,” said Turner. “You can’t think of it any different than just playing two holes with your friends and family. Having my brother (state champ Rocco Turner) on the bag today really helped a lot. He knew a lot and really helped me though it. Golf is a big part of my life, and the Greatest Golfer tournaments are great tournaments that I love playing in.”