All-News4JAX girls golf: Matanzas star Alexandra Gazzoli relishes her spot in history

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There’s something special about being the first.

And it can be even more special in at tight-knit community.

That’s what, Alexandra Gazzoli, our All-News4JAX girls golfer of the year learned.

Gazzoli became the first golfer from Matanzas High School to win a state championship when she carded a two-day total of 140, one stroke better than runner-up Katherine Shaeffer of Broward American Heritage.

The championship was reason to celebrate, but the victory became sweeter when Gazzoli was told she was the first from her school to win a golf championship.

“It means a lot,” Gazzoli said. “I didn’t realize that no one else have one before. So that was really cool.”

Gazzoli, who has been playing golf since she was 2, didn’t have the experience of celebrating at school. She attends virtual school, but at her home course, she became a bit of a celebrity.

“At my home golf course, I guess a lot of people knew,” Gazzoli said. “A lot of people were coming up to me If I’m just practicing or something. So, I’ve had a lot of people talk about it.”

As a freshman, Gazzoli had confidence in her game, but she had to learn important lessons on the course. As a junior, she put those lessons into action to win the state title.

“Even my freshman year, that was my goal,” Gazzoli said. “I knew I was good enough to do it. I just needed to learn how to win at that level. The last two years and even this year, I made mistakes. So, I just learned from them and I fixed them each year.

Now that she has made history as the first state golf champion from Matanzas, Gazzoli has committed to Florida State. She also has more business to attend do next year as a senior.

Gazzoli admits that because of her virtual schooling, golf offered a chance for her to connect with classmates in person. That was one of the reasons she took to the sport.

“The reason why I started high school golf was kind of for the social aspect because in virtual school, I don’t see a lot of people my age so really just you know, friendships alone is gonna make me come back but of course, I want to go back and win and then even improved from this year so definitely is my goal to go back and win again.”

This season, Gazzoli was the only girls’ golfer from Matanzas to make it to the state tournament. In addition to repeating as state champ, she wants to bring her teammates with her during her senior year.

“I really want us to go as a team,” Gazzoli said. “I would like to do well at regionals, too. I don’t usually don’t play well there. So even if I don’t win, just even if I just play good for myself, if I’m happy, I’ll take that. And of course, win states and I’d like to win by a good margin as well.”

All-News4JAX girls golf

First team

Golfer, School, Class

Nancy Cox, Ponte Vedra, Jr.

Two-time first-team All-News4JAX selection. Region champ with a 5-under 67 and paced Sharks to team title there. District champ with 2-under 70. Went 78-69 in 2A state tournament to finish 5th at 3-over 147. One of only two golfers to have a round in the 60s in 2A state.

Ryan Donaldson, Suwannee, Fr.

Took 11th in 2A state tournament with 8-over 152. District champ at 3-under 69. Region runner-up at 1-under 71.

Alexandra Gazzoli, Matanzas, Jr.

All-News4JAX golfer of the year. Three-time All-News4JAX first-team selection. State champ. Shot 5-over 77 for T-12 at region meet. District winner with a 1-under 71 and helped lead Pirates to team title there.

Alyssa Hardy, Stanton, Fr.

T-16 at state with 12-over 156. Tied for region runner-up at 1-under 71. Third at region with 7-over 79.

Ralienne Nacional, Beachside, Jr.

Went 78-73 in 2A state tournament for T-9 and 7-over 151. Fourth at region with 1-over 73. District runner-up with a 4-over 76.

Second team

Golfer, school, Class, Notable

Shanaya Arasu, Nease, Sr.: Finished T-16 in Class 3A state tournament with a 77. T-10 at regionals with 74. District runner-up with an 8-over 80.

Madison Balaskiewicz, Bolles, Sr.: Had a 3-over 75 to finish T-2 at district. Region runner-up with a 3-over 75. Carded 7-over 79 and T-50 in 1A state tournament. Second-team selection last year.

Lauren Barned, Ponte Vedra, Fr.: Had a 9-over 153 at 2A tournament to T-12. Finished T-6 at region with a 3-over 75. Took fifth at district (10-over 82).

Veona Osborne, Columbia, Sr.: T-16 at Class 2A state tournament with 12-over 156. T-8 at region with 4-over 76. Took 3rd at district with a 4-over 76 and helped lead Tigers to team title there.

Violet Robbins, Bolles, Jr.: District champ with an even 72. Went 5-over 77 for T-6 at region. Shot 2-over 74 at state T-20. Second-team selection last year.

Honorable mention

Golfer, School, Class

Tory Barned, Ponte Vedra, Jr.

Sadaly Campbell, Fernandina Beach, So.

Sahana Chokshi, Episcopal, 8th

Fiona Clancy, Bartram Trail, So.

Danielle Dailey, St. Joseph, Fr.

Sofia Davila, Episcopal, Jr.

Alexandra Drum, Ponte Vedra, Jr.

Alexa Fallis, Providence, Jr.

Candace Jackson, Keystone Heights, Sr.

Nyla Mayers, Nease, So.

Alyzabeth Morgan, Fleming Island, So.

Stella Moritz, Ponte Vedra, Fr.

Analya Nahar, Bolles, So.

Ashley Nelson, Columbia, Sr.

Kalia Polete, Fleming Island, Jr.

Lizzie Thompson, Bartram Trail, Sr.

Addy Vogt, St. Johns Country Day, So.

Emma Wells, Providence, Jr.

About the Authors:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.

Cole joined News4Jax full-time in January 2017, but he has been a part of the team since he began filling in as a sports anchor in 2005.