Monday, May 29, 2017


LPGA Volvik Championship May 28, 2017 at Travis Pointe Country Club Ann Arbor Michigan: Shanshan Feng of China wins

A hole-in-one on the par 3 third hole ignited her five-under front nine  as Jersey girl Marina Alex shot 5-under par 67 today to finish in eighth place.

Alex cooled off on the back nine with bogeys on two par 4's (10th & 15th holes.)

 The Vanderbilt University alum reignited with back-to-back birdies on the par 3 seventeenth and par 5 eighteenth holes.

The 26-year old  has shown she has the ability to go low.

At the 2014 U.S. Women's Open, she birdied three of the last six holes to card a 4-under 66 and share the first round lead with Karrie Webb.

For those of you who DO NOT FOLLOW NJ girls golf: here is the "skinny" on the Red Devil Invitational which Marina won in 2006:
  • The Red Devil Girls Golf 18-hole High School Girls Golf Invitational and Food Drive

    The first 18-hole high school girls golf tournament in New Jersey. It was created in 2004 by HCRHS varsity girls golf team head coach Lydia Siipola in the spirit of providing high school age female golfers the same competitive playing opportunities as their high school age male counterparts. 
    At its inception in April, 2004 it was the first 18-hole invitational tournament female athletes played in the state of New Jersey. 
    A food drive which benefits the local Flemington, NJ food pantry is offered as well. All schools are invited and encouraged to participate int he food drive if they are able to do so.  
    Kudos to the membership and management of Copper Hill Country Club for stepping up to the plate and hitting it out of the park for Jersey girl golfers for 14 years!!!


Thursday, May 25, 2017

GOT Physical Fitness?

38th Annual Salute to Women in Sports 
Celebrating the most accomplished women in sports and the girls they inspire.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Presented by espnW, FOX Sports, Gatorade and NBC Sports Group
Cipriani Wall Street
55 Wall Street, New York City
6 p.m. General & Private Receptions, Silent Auction and
Athlete Red Carpet Arrivals
7 p.m. Dinner and Awards Program
Black Tie Invited
Proceeds benefit the Women’s Sports Foundation’s programs dedicated to creating leaders by ensuring girls access to sports.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

ACE, Lee, Immaculate Heart SHINE at NJSIAA North Sectional at Stanton Ridge Setting Stage for Tuesday, May 23 TOC

It’s only five days after the 2017 NJSIAA North Jersey girls’ golf team sectional at Stanton Ridge Golf and Country club. And I can’t get over what an exciting time it was for everyone.
It's an ACE for Bergen Tech's
Akanksha Srivastava!

A big shout-out to Bergen Tech’s Akanksha Srivastava, who aced the uphill par-3 12th hole! It was a blind shot, which made it extra interesting. Akanksha walked up to the green figuring her ball was somewhat near the hole. “I hit a good shot and thought it might be close. But I was shocked when I looked into the hole!”

It is the first hole-in-one in the 8-year history of the North Sectional.
(from left) Coach Susan Polonsky and Bergen Tech golf team

As for me, it feels fantabulous to be ALIVE-in person at the tournament! I cannot believe that I am where I am NOW as opposed to 16 months ago.

I was in Savannah, Georgia recovering from the traumatic injuries I received on December 27, 2015.  An SUV literally ran me over whilst I was riding a bike in a low traffic, residential area.

I have no memory of the incident. N-O-N-E.

But co-director Johnny Siipola does. He was there -- riding in a golf cart with his sister Linda Sledzewski directly behind me.

I was all but pronounced dead at the scene. It happened 15 minutes from Memorial Hospital’s Trauma OneUnit.

Two days later, I woke-up intubated and thought it was weird that I kept seeing family members and relatives.

“Hmmm, something bad must have happened to somebody,” I would say to myself inside my head.

Then I would feel sleepy.

“I’ll figure it out after I take a little rest,” I’d think to myself.

It NEVER occurred to me that I was a victim. N-E-V-E-R!


Thank you to  Dr. Tom Davis' Trauma One Team at Memorial Hospital in Savannah, GA: they called me their Christmas miracle. Two broken clavicles, a major skull fracture, jaw-wired shut, La Forte 3 facial fractures (the most severe facial fractures according to hospital rating system) you can get. And some broken ribs, fingers and other things.

Eight operations later, Johnny and I are focused on recovery and happy to be spending quality time with each other. Hopefully the double vision will resolve along with all the aches, pain and numb parts.

My husband, family, friends, golf friends & my former HCRHS varsity girls golf teams parents and players (near & far, old & new) have provided much love and support.
Happily, here  I am writing about the 2017 NJSIAA North Sectional results after being out of commission for the 2016 event.

A week prior to this year’s sectional the weather channel was calling for rain and thunderstorms, but it never happened. Thank you for that. It was just a perfect day!

All 14 teams showed up on time and the folks at Stanton Ridge could not have been more accommodating and the girls played some impressive golf.

Scoring but no snoring with Ridgewood coach Brian Quirk

The on-line scoring system designed by Shawn Bennett worked great during its third year. Scoring team veterans Hilary Abramowitz and Ridgewood coach Brian Quirk functioned like a well-oiled machine.

Did I mention Stanton Ridge? I did, but seriously, getting to play such a beautiful private venue followed by a great cookout is something to behold. Thanks to the efforts of Golf Course Superintendent Rob Arnts

General manager Jeff Miller was on-site to add insight and make sure everything was there that we needed. Later that afternoon, Jeff was on-course encouraging and smiling while guiding a group of enthusiastic junior golfers. The sport is in great hands! I look forward to collaborating with your junior program.

Steve Peppe, who handled all the important matters: practice rounds, scorecards, water on ice, recording our scorecards, graciously handled all the final sheets and just about everything involved in making the event seamless!

 Assistant golf pro Kevin Wall was his smiling self and Membership Director Joanne Toth was effervescent when she stopped by the scoring table to say hello.

Our good friend and Stanton Ridge Golf and Country Club member Betsy Clarke volunteered to marshal a group. Great to see you and thank you!

Our pre-tournament media coverage yielded articles in the Star Ledger, Courier News, Morristown Record and Bergen Record. A Star Ledger photographer was on-site to get some golfing action shots.

Our friend Rick Epstein was on hand to help spot balls, but most importantly used his professional skills to take photographs of the girls after the conclusion of the tournament.

Next year Rick promises to photograph golfers on-course as well as lunchtime antics and team photos. We were unable to get all 14 complete teams photographed for a variety of reasons. Our apologies if your team or one of your players was omitted. Maybe some pre-tournament photos on the driving range in 2018? Thank you all.

Golfing friend Lynn Griesinger was on-hand for registration, check-in (and a hug for me!) She was on the Women's Metropolitan Golf Association (WMGA) team I started and captained in 2004 at Copper Hill Country Club. Time flies! 

So cool that the WMGA continues to utilize the "Glad We MET," slogan I originated many moons ago. They are the second oldest women's amateur golf association in the United States. Personally, I LOVED playing in their events located throughout the New Jersey,Westchester/Conn. and Long Island before my competitive career was curtailed by illness.

The WMGA has a new independent membership category in 2017. Juniors who have a handicap of 23 or less are qualified. Players without a club affiliation are being afforded the opportunity to become a member and participate.Read more about it by clicking here

The players… oh yeah. What fun it is to see 67 of the best golfers in north Jersey on the Stanton Ridge course. Get ready for the Tournament of Champions! At a new venue:Click here to view 2017 Tournament of Champions NEW Host golf club Watchung Valley

Problems? Well, with 14 schools (two of which were zero hour additions) and 17 groups we had a few issues, but managed to handle things. We applaud those coaches who post their scores faithfully at the website. It is the only way we can verify NORTH SECTION SCHOOL team records in advance of the cutoffs. We literally check the records school by school. But if the school’s record is not updated, we don’t know if they qualify to enter the tournament. Well, you get the picture. May we suggest offering a player that responsibility?

Kudos to all the coaches who verified that their team was in fact registered with us post the cut-off date.

Ten players broke 80, led by Hunterdon Central senior and Girls-Go-Golfing alum Katie Lee shooting even par. Runner-up as an individual was Immaculate Heart’s Yoona Kim, just a freshman.

North Sectional Champions: Immaculate Heart Academy
Immaculate Heart Academy won its first sectional championship advancing to the TOC with Hunterdon Central, first–time sectional qualifier Pingry and Ridge (tied for third place).

We were fortunate to have three USGA or NJPGA officials monitor the top groups – Walter Sartorious, Carol Graybeal and Mark Softy. Thank you so much!

Other volunteers? Yep, we had nearly a dozen adults join us to help with marshaling, scoring, check-in, driving range spotting, etc. The fact is, we could use six more. That’s something for us to think about next year. More marshals.

Colleen Edelman with
North Highland girls golf team and Coach Rich Smith
Thank you to newcomer Colleen Edelman, the assistant coach at Northern Valley. Colleen helped Rick monitoring the tough 6th hole. She is a member at Ridgewood Country Club.

We picked up one other marshal when Dan Kavanaugh dropped over to help with spotting and general duties. He is a recent James Madison University graduate.

Here’s a behind the scenes note. One of our volunteers was Hilary Abramowitz, back for the third year. She represents the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Newark:

I reached out to this group three years ago as they had a relationship with my Hunterdon County junior girls Girls-Go-Golfingprogram. Can you believe some girls’ parents from Hilary’s program drove from Newark to play in GGG events? Hilary came down to pick up the donation and help us out as well. She and Beverly Harrison are the main wheels behind the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Newark.
As it turned out, Hilary proved to be invaluable with the on-line scoring. We brought along some golf clothing to donate to their program. Next year, I will work on getting new clubs, shoes and clothes.

Oh yeah, my nephew Mike Leasure was missed this year. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and started his job with Accenture in King of Prussia, PA.  Congratz nephew!

Luckily for us, my twin sister Rose and her husband Jay Bellwoar took off from work and did the commute between Malvern, PA and Flemington.  Thank you to The Bellwoars!

Hmmm… of course, pace of play. We’re hoping to get more volunteers to shuttle the players between two or three of the holes… and emphasize the “one practice swing” concept, as well as “on-green issues”… we need to work harder on golf etiquette… and walking faster… teeing off immediately when you reach the tee, etc. These concepts should be stressed throughout the season, not just when the players arrive at Stanton Ridge.

Pace of play is always an issue. I promised after the 2015 tournament we’d work on improving this aspect. After my unexpected hiatus in 2016, the North Sectional tournament team will be working on that this off- season—believe it. There are few long walks between greens and tees at SRG& CC. I’d like to improve it with a shuttle system on those holes.

We are working on increasing the overall course yardage as well.  We will look for local breakfast and lunch sponsors. I could go on.

Meanwhile whilst trying to get this blog post finished I have posted the TOC pairings for Tuesday, May 23 and you and your teams have been playing EVEN MORE golf. Stay hydrated!

Thanks again for all the help. Johnny and I love to run this event. I think you can tell. Stay in touchencourage more girls to golf, and local schools to field girls teams,we’ll see you next season and WEAR YOUR BIKE HELMET!


Smiling 2nd place Red Devils & 3rd coach-at-the-helm Frances Gacos
Lydia Siipola started Hunterdon Central's varsity girls golf team program in 2004 . After growing the program and solidifying it into a a state powerhouse, the Devils finished their 2009 & 2010 seasons with back -to-back TOURNAMENT of CHAMPIONS titles. At the conclusion of her seventh season, she stepped aside as head coach  due to chronic health issues and assisted new head coach Robert Nicolson during his four-year reign. Coach Siipola continued her Girls GO Golfing junior girls fall program as a "feeder" program for four years to sustain the high school program. 3 of the 4 players shown above came from Siipola's program  from left Katie Lee, Kaitlyn Flynn and Jacque Petrocchi. You can read more about Siipola's coaching career and junior golf initiatives at the sidebar: Hunterdon Central's varsity girls golf team stats and Coach Lydia's Linked In page.

Smiling 3rd place (tie) Red Devils with Coach Siobahn Devlin
Ridge is another state powerhouse with 5 TOC titles
2011 through 2015
Advancing to the TOC is first time north sectional qualifier
The Pingry School and Coach Rob Mauer who are
all smiles after 3rd place tie with Ridge Red Devils. 

(from back row left) Coach Katie Brenny and the
Smiling Westfield Blue Devils
Marvelous Mt.St. Mary's 

Coach Brian Quirk and Ridgewood team

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Girls Go Golfing Alumnus RED DEVIL Katie Lee Shoots Even Par to STAR at the 2017 NJSIAA North Sectional Tournament


Stanton Ridge Golf & Country Club, par 71, 5211 yards

Immaculate Heart (334), Hunterdon Central (338), Ridge (342), Pingry (342), Westfield (373), Ridgewood (383), Mt. St. Marys (391), Bergen Tech (411), Holy Angels (417), Old Tappan (437), Northern Highlands (449), Montvale (468), Pope John (482), Vernon (537)

Katie Lee (HC) 34-37-71,
Yoona Kim (IHA)3-39-72,
Kelly Sim (HA) 37-36-73, 
Christine Shao (P) 36-38-74,
Ami Gianchandani (P) 35-40-75, 
Anina Ku (R)37-38-75, 
Carolyn Wang  (R) 38-39-77, 
Hartley Zook (HC) 40-38-78, 
Regina Garvey (IHA) 41-38-79, 
Anna Bowman (W) 37-42-79,
Hyoyi Joo (RW) 42-42-84,
Grace Cuttone (MSM) 44-43-87, 
Charlotte Stanton (IHA) 45-43-88, 
Ashley Lu (P) 47-42-89, 
Sarah Gass (HC) 47-43-90,
Laura Taylor (R) 42-48-90, 
Remi Shendell (W) 47-45-92, 
Brooke Schaffer (NH) 44-49-93
Yearam Yang (BT) 48-47-95, 
Paige Durante (IHA) 47-48-95, 
Alyssa Soma (RW) 52-44-96, 
Caroline Hendrix (MSM) 45-51-96, 
Akanksha Srivastava (BT) 48-49-97, 
Katie Encinas (W) 49-48-97, 
Emily Cheng (M)43-55-98, 
Kelly Rekucki (RW) 45-54-99, 
Kaitlyn Flynn (HC) 54-45-99, 
Jackie Petrocchi (HC) 48-51-99, 
Lauren McNeil (MSM) 49-50-99, 
Jennifer Kievit  (HA) 49-50-99, 
Stephanie Zheng (R) 48-52-100, 
Sheina Patel (R) 52-51-103, 
 Kathryn Jones (P) 51-53-104, 
Virginia Mannion (RW) 51-53-104, 
Sydney Dobson (W) 54-51-105, 
Esther Choe (OT) 50-56-106, 
Jessica Fiorillo (NH) 59-48-107, 
Youjung Lee (BT) 57-50-107, 
Sabrina Romano (HA) 56-51-107, 
Kayla Yi (OT) 56-51-107, 
Yoojin Chun (OT) 51-56-107, 
Pooja Shetty (M) 53-55-108, 
Olivia Costello (IHA) 51-57-108, 
Isabel Gardiner (MSM) 54-55-109
Taylor Galitsis (NH) 55-56-111, 
Anah Oozeerally (PJ) 58-54-112, 
Michelle Lee (BT) 54-58-112, 
Olivia Chung (BT) 53059-112
Nina Pitre (W) 61-53-114
Kiera Benson (OT) 67-50-117, 
Keyin Fan (PJ) 69-57-118, 
Morgan Hinchman (V) 59-60-119, 
Natalie Oliveria (PJ) 59-62-121, 
Rose Doherty (MSM) 62-59-121, 
Samantha Gallucci (M) 58-64-122, 
Haley Beauparlant (V) 61-62-123, 
Thea Sanders (R) 67-61-128, 
Taylor Curran (PJ) 64-67-131
Emma Christensen (OT) 68-69-137, 
Olivia Yun (HA) 64-74-138, 
Lauren Shea (NH)62-76-138, 
Sophia Hwang (M) 72-68-140, 
Ashley Yoon (HA) 73-68-141, 
Audrey Halatin (V) 74-70-144, 
Kiara Smith (P) 77-71-148, 
Shannon Wabeke (PJ) 77-72-149, 
Julia Rogers (V) 74-77-151

Click here to see photos from Star Ledger

Bergen Record story on NJSIAA North Sectional

Immaculate Heart won its first North Sectional today at Stanton Ridge golf and country club topping Hunterdon Central by four shots. 
Ridge and Pingry tied for third-- all four teams advance to next week's states.
Central senior Katie Lee (71) edged Immaculate Heart's Yoona Kim (72) by a shot with two time defending state champion Kelly Sim (73) Of Holy Angels third. 
Fourteen schools competed as 67 girls enjoyed the sunny 76 degree day.

Monday, May 15, 2017

2017 NJSIAA NORTH SECTIONAL Girls Golf Pairings at STANTON RIDGE GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 16


GROUP 9A—Marshal Walter Sartorius
Kelly Sim Holy Angels
Ami Gianchandani Pingry
Anina Ku Ridge
Yoona Kim Immaculate Heart

GROUP 9B—Marshal Jay Bellwoar
Christine Shao Pingry
Katie Lee Hunt. Central
Carolyn Wang Ridge
Regina Garvey Immaculate Heart

GROUP 8A—Marshal Mark Softy
Anna Bowman Westfield
Sarah Gass Hunt. Central
Brooke Schaffer Northern Highlands
Charlotte Stanton Immaculate Heart

GROUP 8B—Marshal Carol Graybeal
Hartley Zook Hunt. Central
Stephanie Zheng Ridge
Alyssa Soma Ridgewood
Paige Durante Immaculate Heart

GROUP 7A—Marshal Rose Bellwoar
Kaitlyn Flynn Hunt. Central
Emily Cheng Montville
Sheina Patel Ridge
Ashley Lu Pingry

GROUP 7B—Marshal Betsy Clark
Hyoyi Joo Ridgewood
Laura Taylor Ridge
Grace Cuttone Mt. St. Mary’s
Anah Oozeerally Pope John

GROUP 6A—Marshal Rob Rhein
Remi Shendell Westfield
Pooja Shetty Montville
Natalie Oliveria Pope John
Sabrina Romano Holy Angels

GROUP 6B—Marshal Siobhan Devlin
Morgan Hinchman Vernon
Kathryn Jones Pingry
Sydney Dobson Westfield
Akanksha Srivastava Bergen Tech

GROUP 5—Marshal Rob Mauer
Jackie Petrocchi Hunt. Central
Yearam Yang Bergen Tech
Olivia Costello Immaculate Heart
Keyin Fan Pope John

GROUP 4A—Marshal Rich Smith
Kayla Yi Old Tappan
Katie Encinas Westfield
Olivia Yun Holy Angels
Kelly Rekucki Ridgewood

GROUP 4B--Marshal Patrick Dunne
Caroline Hendrix Mt. St. Mary’s
Shannon Wabeke Pope John
Michelle Lee Bergen Tech
Yoojin Chun Old Tappan

GROUP 3A—Marshal Fran Gacos
Isabel Gardiner Mt. St. Mary’s
Nina Pitre Westfield
Olivia Chung Bergen Tech
Taylor Curran Pope John

GROUP 3B—Marshal Brian St. John
Lauren McNeil Mt. St. Mary’s
Thea Sanders Ridgewood
Esther Choe Old Tappan
Jennifer Kievit Holy Angels

GROUP 2A—Marshal Adam Aronson
Nicole Doria Mt. St. Mary’s
Youjung Lee Bergen Tech
Haley Beauparlant Vernon
Taylor Galitsis Northern Highlands

GROUP 2B—Marshal Katie Brenny
Sophia Hwang Montville
Tori Messinger Northern Highlands
Kiara Smith Pingry
Ashley Yoon Holy Angels

GROUP 1A—Marshal Sue Polonsky
Kiera Benson Old Tappan
Jessica Fiorillo Northern Highlands
Virginia Mannion Ridgewood
Audrey Halatin Vernon

GROUP 1B—Ryan Shellhammer
Emma Christensen Old Tappan
Lauren Shea Northern Highlands
Samantha Gallucci Montville