116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CORALVILLE — Meera Julka learned a valuable lesson at state a year ago.
A key to success is a strong short game. The Cedar Rapids Xavier sophomore went to work and has reaped the rewards.
Julka secured her second straight state tournament berth, capturing medalist honors at the Class 3A final-round regional Wednesday at Brown Deer Golf Club.
“I’m excited for a second chance at state,” said Julka, who added, “Getting back to state was the whole goal for the season.”
Julka fired a 79 to win the individual competition, while Dubuque Wahlert won the team race with 371. Solon was second with 382, edging Central DeWitt by one for the other team berth — its first since 1998.
Julka tied for 30th at the 3A state meet last season, which provided the important lesson.
“I learned that I need to focus on my short game because that’s where I lost all my strokes,” Julka said. “I really worked on my short game. I think that helped me today.”
All the time devoted to her game has propelled her to Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division Player of the Year. She dedicated time in and out of season, displaying a passion for golf.
“She makes sure she gets out on the course every day, either to play or hit on the driving range,” Xavier Coach Julie Kadlec said. “She pretty much does golf seven days a week.”
Julka played Brown Deer a little more than two weeks ago. Her goal was to beat that round and she did by one stroke. Even though she benefited from some luck — skipping a ball across water that hit a rock and then landed in a dry bunker on the 18th hole to avoid a penalty — Julka’s short game helped her produce pars throughout the round.
“She’s much more thorough with the up-downs,” Kadlec said. “Her putting has really come around. She’s gotten some chip-ins. She has quite a few one-putts. We see that consistently.
“It has helped her tremendously.”
Julka will return to River Valley Golf Course in Adel for the state meet. She has a simple approach for the two-day event, starting May 26.
“I just want to improve my score from last year,” Julka said. “I think I can do it.”
Western Dubuque wins regional title
Just two days after finishing behind Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids Washington in a Mississippi Valley Conference divisional, Western Dubuque won the team title at the 4A regional at Irv Warren Memorial Golf Course in Waterloo.
The Bobcats posted a team score of 335, topping Cedar Falls by five strokes and securing their second straight state appearance. They were sixth at state in 2021.
McKenna Stackis was fourth and led Western Dubuque with an 80. Gabi Fagerlind shot 82, Addy Jones recorded an 85 and freshman Cece Ball added 88 for the Bobcats.
Iowa City Liberty’s Bella Pettersen was the medalist with 1-under 70. Pettersen, a sophomore, was MVC Mississippi Player of the Year for the second consecutive season and placed third at last year’s state meet.
Washington freshman Jane Petersen was third with 79, while Iowa City West’s Leigha Pacha shot 81 to place fifth. Both qualified for the 4A state tournament at Otter Creek Golf Course in Ankeny.