CARMEL – The thrilling ride that was Wawasee’s 2014 girls golf season came to a conclusion Saturday afternoon in the final round of the IHSAA Girls Golf State Finals at Prairie View Golf Club.
The Lady Warriors could not match the top-10 scoring output from day one as they came in with a 395. The combined two-day score of 760 put Wawasee in a 14th place finish, the highest finish for a Northern Lakes Conference team since Warsaw’s 8th place finish in 2003.
The day started out poorly for Wawasee before the team even stepped foot on the course. Wawasee, along with several other teams, was ushered out of its hotel at three in the morning after a fire alarm went off thanks to the shenanigans of some intoxicated guests.
It turned out that waiting outside in the cold for over 30 minutes in the early hours of the morning was not the recipe for a successful day on the course as the Lady Warriors shot 30 strokes higher than their day one score of 365. But despite the higher score on the second day, Wawasee chose to focus on the positives and be satisfied with it finish in its first State Finals appearance since 1986.
“We did everything we could this year,” said Wawasee head coach Steve Coverstone. “You can’t go any farther than the State Finals, we’ve got nothing to be upset about today. We had a lot of girls get the experience of playing at this level and that is important for us going into next year.”
Wawasee used a total of six golfers this past weekend at Prairie View, five of which will return next season for Coverstone. The only change in the lineup from Friday to Saturday was the switching of the fifth player. Friday Coverstone had junior Kamryn Foy play while on Saturday sophomore Madison Beaman took the spot. This was a planned move by the coach as both players were very close in scores leading up to the Finals and because it gave the experience of playing at State to yet another girl.
Beaman shot a 109 Saturday, slightly higher than Foy’s 106 from Friday. Aubrey Schmeltz again golfed the fourth spot for Wawasee and would shoot a 100, the sophomore highlighted her day with a birdie on No. 16. Schmeltz also had a birdie Friday morning. The only other birdies from Wawasee at the Finals were from Mikala Mawhorter who had two, one on each day. Mawhorter, who chipped-in for birdie on No. 12 Friday, birdied the same hole Saturday, on her way to a 94 for the second consecutive day.
Kylee Rostochak shot a 95 on Friday and, like the rest of the team, had a rough day two experience as she shot a 105. Rostochak did impress on the front nine, however. After shooting a 59 on the back to start her day the junior rebounded with a very impressive 46 on the front.
Harsh conditions continued at Prairie View Saturday afternoon. To get a small feel for what the golfers dealt with, watch the video below of Kylee Rostochak teeing off into the wind on No. 15.
The only Lady Warrior not returning next season that played at the Finals this weekend is Elizabeth Jackson. The senior did admirably for her team all weekend, leading the Lady Warriors with a combined score of 181. Jackson had an emotional moment as she walked off the course for the final time on the ninth green at Prairie View.
She was met with an embrace from her father, Wawasee assistant coach Bruce Jackson, followed by several teammates and other family members. Jackson ended her prep career in a way that only a handful of athletes get to, at the State Finals and she was more than thankful for that.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that we could make it here as a team and that all of the hard work that I put in over the summer paid off,” Jackson stated. “Playing here, on this course, gives me a lot of confidence moving forward to play in college. This was a great experience for all of us.”
The experience may be over for Wawasee right now but with six girls returning for Wawasee next season, 2015 may shape up to be another memorable one for the Lady Warriors.