South Tama's girls golf team met it's season goal.
Now, one final task 36 holes at the Class 3A state championship lies ahead for the Trojans.
STC earned its season-long goal by placing second at the 3A regional Monday. South Tama finished runner-up to host Clear Lake, as it scored 344 to Clear Lake's 324.
South Tama’s girls golf team finished second at its Class 3A regional Monday, qualifying the Trojans for the state tournament next week. Pictured (l-r) is assistant coach Randy Van Dyk, senior Jenn?Maus, senior Kourtne Smith, sophomore Paige Van Dyk, senior Amelia Hoskey, senior Taylor Van Dyk, sophomore Carrie Cibula, head coach Kelle Boles and senior Tanya Halverson.
Photo by Jeff Barker/News-Herald
"The goal was to shoot well and get to state," head coach Kelle Boles said. "We shot our second-best round of the year and it wasn't on our home course. Clear Lake was on their home course and beat us by 20, but that's the advantage of playing on your home course."
South Tama's best score and school record is 343, which it shot at a home tournament earlier this spring. The STC girls were happy to shoot near their team record and be one of the two teams moving on from its regional to the state tournament.
"It's really exciting," sophomore Paige Van Dyk said. "This is what we've been aiming for all season. They had a really good score. They broke their record by about 12 strokes. We were close to our record, too."
Van Dyk was the top medalist at the meet. She shot a round of 74, after shooting a three-over-par 39 on the front nine and a one-under-par 35 on the second nine.
"I was happy with my round," Van Dyk said. "I started off bogey, bogey and I thought, 'oh gosh.' Then I ended up one-under on the second nine and that was nice. I just need to start out playing better at the beginning."
Van Dyk's round of 74 was two shots better than the second-place medalist, who was Meg Monson from Clear Lake.
"She really got used to the greens and angles," Boles said of Van Dyk. "She was just her calm, cool self."
Van Dyk's older sister, senior Taylor, finished third overall, shooting an 18-hole score of 78. She will be heading to state for the third year.
"It feels good to go back, but this time as a team," T. Van Dyk said. "It's exciting. It's nice to be back to normal this year. This is the perfect way to end my senior year."
A year ago, T. Van Dyk suffered an injury that sidelined her during basketball and most of her junior golf season. She returned at the end of the season and qualified for state. She's healthy this year, but her and the other four seniors on the team had a busy Sunday.
They graduated from South Tama at 2 p.m. and left for Clear Lake hours later. Instead of making the nearly three-hour drive early Monday morning, the Trojans left Sunday and stayed the night in a hotel.
"It was kind of stressful, because after graduation, I packed really fast," T. Van Dyk said. "We left that night."
South Tama's next highest scores and the ones that counted for the team score came from seniors Kourtne Smith and Jenn Maus. Smith shot a 95, while Maus turned in a round of 97. Carrie Cibula and Amelia Hoskey were the other STC players. They shot 100 and 115, respectively.
"I think they started out a little timid and tentative, because the greens are a little small and harder, so the ball rolled a lot," Boles said. "As they got used to it, the second round went a lot better. They got in the groove and played well.
"They've been really looking forward to this," she said. "A lot of them played other sports and they didn't quite make it to state in things they wanted to, like state basketball. So now they have that achievement. At times, they were even looking forward to making it to state than graduation."
The 3A state tournament will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at Otter Creek Country Club in Ankeny. The golfing will begin at 9 a.m. each day. The regional course at Clear Lake was an easier course, according to Boles, but the state course presents many more challenges.
"Otter Creek is a whole different story," Boles said. "It has long roughs, a lot of water and more sand traps. Otter Creek is a different playground. I think it evens the playing field. It's a tough course and it's more difficult. Really good course management is the key to playing Otter Creek. Naturally, they will be more nervous on the first day than they would on the second day.
"I really think Kourtne, Jenn and the other girls can play a lot better than what they played the other day," she said. "They just need to be confident in themselves. At state, they will be nervous, but they all do well."
The STC girls are excited about the opportunity to play at the state tournament as a team.
"It should be a really fun experience with all of the girls," P. Van Dyk said. "I'm sad to see the seniors go, but hopefully we play well at our last meet together."