By Bob Hamar
Players at the Class B district meet this past week at the York Country Club may have gotten a preview of what the state meet will look like when they tee it up Monday and Tuesday at Elks Country Club in Columbus.
“Elks in Columbus has more doglegs, but in terms of the tight tree line, distance I would guess isn’t too far off,” Northwest coach Alex Hull said. “It’s probably a little bit more about being able to place the ball at Elks because of those doglegs.”
Aurora’s Danica Badura, who won the district at York and birdied the final two holes, said Elks and the York Country Club are probably the two toughest courses they have played on all season.
“Elks is pretty tight just like this,” Badura said. “I hope the greens at Elks won’t be quite as fast as here, but the last two holes with birdie/birdie gives me confidence.”
Aurora qualified as a team by finishing second at the district meet. Teammates Riley Darbro, Hannah Pedersen, Taryn Smith and Emily Pedersen will join Badura at the state meet.
Northwest coach Alex Hull will also take the Vikings to the state meet after they finished third at that same district. Lanie Fry, Bria Berrelez, Hailey Schuster, Olivia Ottman and Avery Hermesch will play for Northwest.
“We obviously want to go out and compete, but with a young group you can really experience state like that and learn a lot,” Hull said. “The two individuals that qualified, we feel like let’s go break 100, like Lanie did today. That’s still going to be our goal. If you do that, you focus on doing the little things even at that course.
“This course was good preparation. If we do that, I feel like we could end up with a good placing and some good scores there.”
There are no seniors on the Northwest team. Hull said the state meet will be a great experience for the Vikings, just like the district was great for them.
“Like we said at the start of the year, a young team and this is really a great experience builder to come out at district,” Hull said. “We really had to grind, just fight through. Not every shot was going our way, not every putt was falling our way. We have a couple of girls who can tell you about that.”
Hull said he likes the chemistry on his team.
“The truth is our team has been so close all year long,” Hull said. “Our top four have been almost interchangeable, maybe a little bit of an edge to Lanie. So you never know when you get to state what’s going to happen there.”
Qualifying for state was a goal for Grand Island Senior High from the beginning of the season, and the Islanders did just that by finishing second at the Class A, District 3 meet at Holmes Golf Course in Lincoln.
Sadie Pehrson, Samantha Hansen, Hailey Kenkel, Lilly Zoellner and Paige Pehrson will golf for the Islanders at the Class A state meet at the Norfolk Country Club.
“I think all five girls that have been on our varsity all year have progressively gotten better throughout the year,” G.I. coach Jeremiah Slough said. “Paige Pehrson is playing at an awfully high level right now, and Lilly is hitting the ball great. If she can get just a little better around the greens she could shoot in the mid 70s.”
The Islanders have golfed twice at Norfolk this season, but haven’t done that well so far. They shot 375 at the Norfolk Invitational and a season-high 396 at the Heartland Athletic Conference meet.
“I’d like to see us compete a little bit better than we have there the first two times we’ve played there,” Slough said. “We just kind of have a mental block right now with the Norfolk Country Club. So hopefully we get up there on Sunday, play our practice round and get some of the nerves out.
“We’re just looking hopefully to play at our number, 355-360 is where we’ve lived all year. If we can be right there, then we’re going to be in a good spot come Tuesday afternoon.”
Grand Island Central Catholic didn’t qualify for the Class C state meet at Lake Maloney Golf Course in North Platte, but coach Dee Hanssen thinks the three teams from the C-4 district meet at Indianhead Golf Course will do well at state.
“I look forward to seeing our district do really well at state,” Hanssen said. “Kearney Catholic, Cambridge, Broken Bow, they’ll do well.”
Broken Bow won a playoff with Cambridge to finish second behind Kearney Catholic. The Indians will send Avery Campbell, Graycee Oeltjen, Joscelyn Coleman, Emery Custer and Madison Jackson to the state meet.
“This is very sweet after last year where I felt like we had a team that was deserving to go and it didn’t work out, just like Dee had a team that was deserving to go,” Broken Bow coach Kelly Cooksley said.
Senior Olivia Ostdiek was the lone Central Catholic golfer to qualify for state.