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MARION — Cedar Rapids Kennedy had some big cleats to fill.
The Cougars graduated three of their top four scorers from last season and needed accomplished junior varsity players to step into the lineup.
Just like the team from a year ago, Kennedy captured the team title, shooting 389 at the CRANDIC girls' golf meet Wednesday at Gardner Golf Course. Iowa City West’s Jordan Amelon fired an 84 to earn medalist honors.
For the second straight year, the Cougars won by one stroke, edging runner-up Cedar Rapids Prairie this time.
“I guess we’re good at it,” Kennedy Coach Julie Buerman said with a laugh. “They could make a few more putts. We’ve been trying to work on our up-and-downs to get everything with chipping and pitching better.”
The Cougars had three seniors, a junior and two sophomores in their top six Wednesday. The transition has gone well. They were good enough to win in tough conditions, despite it being the first full round of the season.
“They’ve been doing a nice job,” Buerman said. “They have a lot of experience behind them. I wasn’t worried about them playing 18 holes.
“There are a few new ones this year. Today was a big deal for them and they made it through it. They ended up doing very well.”
Senior Katie Choate has embraced a leadership role, earning first-team all-Metro and second-team all-conference accolades last year. She said the team has a strong camaraderie.
“A lot of it is a friendship role, too,” Choate said. “We’re all pretty close and that helps a lot. We help each other and cheer each other on.”
Choate was runner-up medalist, carding an 86 with six pars in chilly, windy and wet elements.
“It wasn’t the best round I ever played,” Choate said. “Given the course conditions, there were a lot of things I could improve on, but it was pretty decent for how everything played out today.”
Kennedy received a 99 from sophomore Ana Vilanova. Junior Annette Marsalli and senior Abbie Haller rounded out the Cougars’ scoring.
“The low score really helps and will take you forward as a team,” Buerman said. “It is very important that we do have somebody who can shoot that low score. Obviously, it helped with the other ones.”
Amelon improved her runner-up finish in this meet last year. The West senior managed the course well, coming in with one of only two scores under 90.
“I thought my ball striking was pretty good,” Amelon said. “The short game really wasn’t there, so I really need to work on that. I was short on a lot of holes, so I need to work on my distances.”
She was one of just four golfers to card a birdie. Amelon scored hers on the par-4 No. 14 hole. After a nice tee shot, the approach rolled past the hole and rested on a slope a few feet behind the green. Amelon drained the chip for birdie, which could have been the difference.
“I had an uphill lie, so that’s always good,” Amelon said. “I had a nice little fluffy lie. I hit my landing spot and it went in. It was straight. It didn’t really break.”
Amelon has reached the state meet in her first three years. She is looking to continue the streak.
“I need to get up and down more,” Amelon said. “I don’t do that enough.
“In past years, I went with the team. I don’t know if I qualified individually, but I went with the team. It was always a blast to hang out with those guys and go to state together.”
Prairie was paced by third-place Lexi Poundstone’s 91. Hannah Stebral was fifth with 95 and Peyton Staab, who birdied the par-3 eighth hole, shot 99 for the Hawks.
Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Regan Grekoff was fourth with 93.
CRANDIC GOLF MEET
At Gardner Golf Course
Teams — 1. C.R. Kennedy 389, 2. C.R. Prairie 390, 3. C.R. Washington 394, 4. Linn-Mar 404, 5. C.R. Jefferson 422, 6. C.R. Xavier 427, 7. Marion 434, 8. Iowa City High 435, 9. Iowa City West 439.
Individuals — 1. Jordan Amelon (ICW), 84, 2. Katie Choate (CRK), 86, 3. Lexi Poundstone (CRP), 91, 4. Regan Grekoff (CRJ), 93, 5. Hannah Stebral (CRP), 95.
Kennedy (389): Choate 86, Ana Vilanova 99, Annette Marsalli 101, Abbie Haller 103.
Prairie (390): Poundstone 91, Stebral 95, Peyton Staab 99, Emma Rubsam 105.
Washington (394): Brittany Postma 96, Grace Claassen 98, Madie Baird 98, Devon O’Donnell 102.
Linn-Mar (404): Megan Murphy 96, Tori Niemeyer 100, Claire Callahan 102, Kristen Harding 106, Olivia Foley 106.
Jefferson (422): Grekoff 93, Emily Smith 102, Paige Archer 110, Hannah Coyle 117.
Xavier (427): Ellie Braksick 100, Libby Kramer 103, Shelby Younggreen 106, Ana Stangler 118.
Marion (434): Sophie Willette 102, Skylar Dede 103, Carli Eichelberger 114, Alyssa Rose 115.
City High (435): Rose Sadewasser 102, Lexi Shield 102, Alexa Fredericks 114, Kaylee Paulsen 117, Emily Knoche 117.
I.C. West (439): Amelon 84, Allison Bys 113, Ashley Bys 116, Elise Chang 126.
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