The Carroll High School girl’s golf team had a great season with lots of success, according to coach Bryan Koehlinger.
The team’s season record ended 10-3 and they placed first in two of the invitationals and placed second and third in the other two.
“Post-season was a great summary of our season by winning sectionals with a 323 and every varsity player playing their best,” Koehlinger said.
Sophomore Marissa GeRue was the individual champion with a 75 and freshman Gaby Frick was the runner-up individual with an 81.
GeRue said it wasn’t her goal to win at sectionals, she just wanted to help move her team through.
“Regionals was another great round and coming up short by one place to advance to state as a team by placing fourth with a 345,” Koehlinger said.
GeRue did advance to the state finals by placing third on a non-advancing team.
Koehlinger said the highlight of the season was the performance at sectionals.
“They started sectionals week with a high score against Columbia City,” he said. “We continued each day to build off what we learned that night. It was a busy week of four matches but once we found the momentum, we continued right into sectionals.”
During the sectionals games, GeRue had a score of 75, placing her in first. Frick scored an 81, junior Macy Neal scored 82, sophomore Margaret Carr scored 85 and senior Victoria Straley scored 87 with a team score of 323.
“Our 10-3 record was a great record, especially knowing that two of the losses were to Homestead, who placed second in the state,” Koehlinger said. “Winning two of the invitationals was another big accomplishment for the girls. Lots of team work went into our season.”
Koehlinger said it’s hard to be consistent in every round played and the team was always able to maintain four good scores.
“The fifth score that is dropped wasn’t the same girl through the season,” he said. “Everyone did their part to have a great season.”
The main challenge for the team this year was quarantines, but that didn’t stop the team.
“It did allow a few girls from junior varsity the opportunity to play at the varsity level,” Koehlinger said. “Our inconsistency at the end of the regular season was a concern but the girls were able to overcome.”
GeRue was the only girl from the team to play at the state finals competition. This was her second year playing in the state finals.
“Marissa had a great end to her season,” Koehlinger said. “Having the experience from her freshman year, she was able to prepare herself better with knowing the course and understanding the whole experience.”
Koehlinger said round one was a great day for GeRue with an 80 and using her knowledge of the course to manage each shot.
“The course plays long and very challenging with 100, strategically placed, bunkers on the course, along with other typical hazards,” he said.
Round two was another great start with 40 on the first 9-holes.
“The second nine was a different story when it was interrupted with a torrential downpour of rain after she played the first hole,” Koehlinger said. “We had over a two-hour rain delay and from that point on, she struggled to get back into her rhythm.”
Koehlinger said GeRue still played well, but couldn’t catch a break on a few shots and putts, ending with an 86.
“We are very proud of her performance and she finished 34 out of the 100 girls at the state finals,” he said. “This was a huge improvement from the previous year where she placed 74 and both rounds were in the 90s.”
GeRue said she was incredibly nervous to play in the state finals.
“I knew I made it last year and I knew it would be really exciting to be able to go again this year,” she said. “It was like a weight was taken off of my shoulders. It was a relief to know that I was able to qualify.”
GeRue began taking golf lessons in first grade but didn’t begin enjoying the game until middle school.
“Something clicked where it was something I knew I wanted to do,” she said. “It was a passion I had. You set goals and the feeling of reaching them was something I loved.”
She said competing at the state finals as a freshman and a sophomore shows that the time and effort she puts into the game pays off.
“It comes together and you see it pay off,” she said. “To see all my hard work has led to something is really exciting.”
Koehlinger said the next season will be another exciting one with knowing the team has a couple of incoming freshmen who should contribute to the team with only losing one senior this season.
“With only losing one varsity player and knowing we have about eight girls who will be competing for the top five positions next year, it will make us even stronger than this year,” he said. “It will be a very competitive year within our own team as they fight for the top five.”
Signups for the 2022 season will begin in May at Carroll High School. Eighth graders can sign up during lunch at each of the middle schools.
Tryouts will be on July 29 at Autumn Ridge Golf Course and will have weekly open range times at Autumn Ridge starting in the middle of June.