The Homestead Spartans and Carroll’s Marissa Gerue are headed to the IHSAA Girls Golf State Finals Oct. 2-3 at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.
The competition knew the defending state-champion Homestead girls would be tough to beat, but the team ended up taking it one step further with a season-best 275 for the title during Saturday’s East Noble Girls Golf Regional at Noble Hawk Golf Links in Kendallville.
“275 is an exceptionally low number, and it wasn’t easy out here today either. It was really windy, but today was just a really good day because we got five really great scores, we all played well, we’re just all coming together at the right time, and that’s really good for us considering next week is the state finals,” Homestead Head Coach Jeff Jehl said.
Homestead collectively turned in a 5-under-par performance Saturday. Though he thought somewhere in the 290s would have been a comfortable number to shoot, Jehl said the success was less about setting a scoring goal and more about staying present and focused, and taking it one stroke at a time. That discipline landed the Spartans the top four individual placements on the afternoon.
Madi Dabagia and Simone Senk — playing in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots — led the field, each shooting a 66 on the afternoon. Megan Yoder added a 70, and Amy Frazier shot a 73 to round out the team’s scoring. Cassidy Ayres shot an 81 in the fifth spot on the roster.
“Today was by far our best performance of the year,” Jehl said. “We had some great nine-hole events, but in terms of our 18-hole tournaments, we hadn’t quite put it all together yet, and for Madi Dabagia and Simone Senk to each shoot a 4-under-par 66, that’s otherworldly. And, Amy Frazier and Megan Yoder chipping in a 73 and a 70, I don’t know what a regional record is out here, but that’s got to be close to it.”
Not only was the team’s 275 a regional record, but an all-time Homestead record as well. Homestead has won the East Noble regional five years in a row.
The Spartans were 59 strokes ahead of runner-up NorthWood’s 334. Concord took the last team qualification with a 345 for third.
Homestead will compete in the 2-day state finals Friday and Saturday. Last year, the team shot a 302 and a 303 to best runner-up Evansville North for the title.
“This is a different group this year, but last year the mark of what made us great was that we peaked at the right time and we played our best golf of the year at the IHSAA finals. And, all signs are pointing to that again this year,” Jehl said.
Carroll’s Marissa Gerue will also make the trip to state this year. A freshman competing in her first regional, GeRue shot a 78 to place third out of all individuals not on an advancing team.
The Chargers started on the back nine Saturday, with GeRue leading the way with a 41. Starting on the final two holes on the front nine, with several of the competing teams’ scores already recorded, Carroll Head Coach Bryan Koehlinger knew GeRue was in contention for a qualification, the Carroll freshman said. She ended up finishing her round out with a birdie on Hole 6, followed by three straight pars for a 37 on the front nine.
“My coach told me going after 7 that I needed to get another birdie,” GeRue explained. “I didn’t know if that meant the team or individual. After parring those last two holes, I didn’t know where I stood. … I think the pressure was on, knowing that I had to do something good, but after I finished it I was pretty happy.
“All my work has paid off — it’s pretty exciting.”
As a team, Carroll shot a 361 for sixth out of 18 teams in the field. Also scoring for the Chargers were Maria Krotov (93), Tiffany Chin (95) and Emily Linder (95). Playing in the No. 5 spot for Carroll, Tori Straley also shot a 95.
Northrop’s Skylar Whitman, competing as an individual on the afternoon, was just shy of a state ticket. Whitman shot an 80 to tie for first out of all individual competitors, but ended up losing by one stroke in a final playoff against Rochester’s Kristianna Lingenfelter.
The IHSAA will provide live streaming of Hole 18 at the state finals on Saturday only. That can be viewed at IHSAAtv.org beginning at noon.