Marshalltown girls qualify for first state golf tournament since 2010
Braving the wind at a course like Elmwood Country Club can be difficult. The wind impacts every shot from tee to green, and can turn good shots into missed greens and bad shots into disasters.
So it was a perfect test for the Marshalltown girls’ golf team Monday afternoon in a Class 4A Region 2 tournament ahead of a potential state berth.
The Bobcats, led by medalist and regional champion Amber Henson’s 8-over-par 78, weathered the wind and took home a regional title with a team score of 371, one shot ahead of Waukee’s second-place finish of 372. Both teams automatically qualified for the state tournament June 1 and 2.
Coach Lucas Johnson said this is just another item on the checklist for the Bobcats after a strong season of growth to this point.
“It was one of our goals from the start of the year, and for them to actually see it happen is very satisfying for a coach,” Johnson said. “It was tough, it was challenging out there. Our girls battled. Regional days are never easy.”
It’s the first time the Bobcats have made it to state in girls’ golf since 2010, when the tournament was held at Otter Creek Golf Club in Ankeny — this year’s venue for state golf as well. The 2010 state berth was before a big remodeling of Otter Creek into its current, linksy format. The course sits right off of Interstate 35, meaning it is perpetually wind-swept much like Elmwood was Monday.
Henson, the Bobcats’ most consistent golfer this season and one of the strongest in the state according to Johnson, had her share of challenges early on with the course. But as the round went on, she said, the knowledge of the course gave her the upper hand.
“I did struggle a little bit today in the wind, but that’s just my mistake,” Henson said. “I’ve been playing this course since I could walk and the other girls haven’t, especially when the greens are rolling fast like today.”
Despite not getting a birdie on her card, Henson was steady and put 10 pars and eight bogeys on her card to win the event by six shots over Waukee’s Hannah Pettitt and Ames’s Megan Riesselman.
The next-best score for the Bobcats was from senior Kyra Feldman, who finished fifth in the individual standings and qualified for state as well with a 21-over 91. Feldman has had her ups and downs over the course of the season, but Johnson has been proud of her performances and what it’s meant to the team.
“She had a rough day at conference, and she bounces back with an individual state-qualifying performance,” Johnson said. “For her as a senior to be playing like that, it’s just a great spot for us to be in.”
Norah Wilson was the Bobcats’ third score at 26-over par 96, the last Bobcat to break 100. Brynn Van Buren was Marshalltown’s fourth and final counting score at 106.
Next Tuesday and Wednesday, the Bobcats will be on the state’s biggest stage for girls’ golf, thanks to strong supporting performances and the consistency of Henson.
But that doesn’t mean the team is done trying to surpass expectations.
“We’re not done yet, we have more to accomplish,” Johnson said he was going to tell his team. “I know that stands not only for the team but for individuals as well.”
Regional Girls Golf Finals
Class 4A Region 2
Elmwood Country Club, par 70
Team Standings — 1. Marshalltown 371, 2. Waukee 372, 3. Ankeny 392, 4. Ames 414, 5. Indianola 435, 6. Ankeny Centennial 447, 7. Urbandale 455, 8. Des Moines Roosevelt 573.
Individual (top 10) — 1. Amber Henson, MHS, 78; 2. Hannah Pettitt, WAU, 84; 3. Megan Riesselman, AMES, 84; 4. Jaci Webb, ANK, 85; 5. Kyra Feldman, MHS, 91; 6. Jenna Van Bell, WAU, 92; 7. Taylor Balsley, AMES, 93; 8. Sydney Vicente, WAU, 96; 9. Norah Wilson, MHS, 96; 10. Kinzey Johnston, IND, 99.
MARSHALLTOWN (371) — Henson 78, Feldman 91, Wilson 96, Brynn Van Buren 106, Autumn Thompson 121.
WAUKEE (372) — Pettitt 82, Van Bell 92, Vicente 96, Adria Steinmetz 100, Bella Kennedy 102, Amelia Habgood 112.
ANKENY (392) — Webb 85, Gia Blazer 100, Gabby Schnepf 103, Naomi Schraderbachar 104, Kelsey Hensen 115, Olivia Froelich 115.
AMES (414) — Riesselman 84, Balsley 93, Ellie Nusbaum 118, Sidney Kain 119, Bryce Bearson 122, Ainsley Jurgens 124.
INDIANOLA (435) — Johnston 99, Jaiden Wallander 102, Hanna Graham 108, Issy Vanderpool 126, Bella Parker 134, Avarie Hilton 175.
ANKENY CENTENNIAL (447) — Payton Drefke 109, Grace Miller 112, Olivia Joensen 112, Kaitlyn Ault 114, Samantha Lazear 125, Vivian Wilson 131.
URBANDALE (455) — Emma Christiansen 110, Ava Bibbs 111, Megan Salmon 114, Kayla McLeran 120, Keeli Stevens 120, Maddy Cochran 124.
DM ROOSEVELT (573) — Avery Maxwell 137, Karley Sorenson 141, Emerson Peck 145, Katrin Klassen 150.