Independence earns district berth

Independence Boys Golf

Carson Bianco shot an 81 and Tyler Sagi carded an 83 to lead Independence to a second place finish at the Division III sectional golf tournament at Pine Hills Golf Course on Wednesday.

The Blue Devils, who finished third with a 348 in 2017, shot a 346 on Tuesday. Gilmour Academy won the sectional title with a 326.

“Going into this, we knew that making it as a team was going to be tough,” said Independence coach Mark Echstenkamper. “The guys came through. The fact we only finished 20 strokes behind Gilmour Academy, that’s pretty impressive.”

Heavy rains forced an hour delay and left the course playing much slower than in years past.

That didn’t have a negative effect on the Blue Devils.

Mike Jedrzejek carded a 90 for the Blue Devils and Hugh Corrigan closed out the scoring with a 92.

“This was the best 18-hole tournament we had all year,” Echstenkamper said. “They played really well. They had a good practice round a couple of days ago and they knew what they wanted to do. They didn’t have any major blowup holes and stayed out of trouble.”

Bianco and Sagi both improved upon their scores from last fall. Bianco trimmed off one stroke and Sagi cut 10 from his 2017 sectional score.

“Today’s round as a team has me really excited to see how we can perform at districts on Thursday (Oct. 4),” Bianco said. “The course was soaked too so I feel like we could definitely improve.”

Bianco struggled to find his rhythm on the front nine but closed his round with a 37 on the back.

“I shot a pretty poor 44 on the front but once things started to dry up I was able to bring in a better score on the back,” he said. “I also think keeping my driver in my bag this round worked out great for Pine Hills.”

The district tournament will be played at Tannenhauf Golf Club in Alliance next Thursday.

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The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.