116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
From the very start, the focus was for this to be the end.
Understandably, Iowa City West is excited.
'We're psyched,' West senior Mackenzi Marsh said. 'We've gone the last two years. We're so glad we made it again for the third year in a row.'
The Women of Troy qualified for their third straight state tournament and will compete at the Class 5A state golf tournament Tuesday at Lake Panorama National Golf Course in Panora. The two-day event begins at 9 a.m.
'At the beginning of the season, that is always the goal,' West Coach Mary Goodfellow said. 'We're very happy and fortunate to get back there.'
At the core of West's success is a trio of players — Marsh, Jordan Amelon and Avery Kout. All three have been a part of each of the recent state tournament teams, placing seventh last season and fourth in 2014. Amelon leads with a 79.8 average, followed by Kout at 83.2 and Marsh (84.0).
They have switched the top three spots, pushing each other to be the best in practice and competition.
'I think they push each other, because they all want to play (No.) 1,' Goodfellow said. 'Whoever shoots the lowest the round before gets to play No. 1. They shoot for that.'
The drive to outplay their teammates feeds some beneficial competition. Many times the focus is to work on the short game. Goodfellow, who was an accomplished golfer at Cedar Rapids Regis and University of Iowa, even gets involved at times.
'We have contests in practice and in our meets, too,' Marsh said. 'We will see who can have the least putts. It definitely pushes us forward.
'(Goodfellow) is so competitive. we go back and forth, but we beat up on her a little bit.'
The efforts have helped trim scores. One of the biggest improvements for the team is a better fourth score. West has sliced 18 strokes from the start of the season to now.
Andrea Morgan has the fourth-best average at 98.2 for West. Ellie Jacoby and Abbie Moore round out the lineup.
'I think where we've grown the most is our No. 4 position,' Goodfellow said. 'We've had to count anything from a 110 at the beginning of our season all the way down to 92 last week.'
Cedar Rapids Kennedy advanced to the state meet for the first time since 2008. The Cougars are led by Sierra Hargens, who is making her second state appearance in three seasons. She is among one of the state's top golfers, averaging 73.43 for 18 holes, which ranks second in 5A.
Iowa City High's Sarah Overton returns to the state meet, looking for her second straight top-10 finish. Linn-Mar's Tori Niemeyer also qualified.
Cedar Falls, Dubuque Hempstead and Dubuque Senior joined Kennedy and West in the field, giving the Mississippi Valley Conference five representatives. Four of them are in the Valley Division. The tough regular-season could help the next two days.
'It helps us prepare and be ready for it,' Marsh said. 'It also makes it exciting, because we've played with them a bunch of times and it will be fun to play with them at state.'
In Class 4A, Washington will attempt to keep its grasp on the team and individual titles. Sophomore Sarah Nacos will attempt to repeat as individual medalist and maintain her chances to become the state's third four-time state champion. Dubuque's Sharon Fladoos (1958-61) and Charles City's Jesse Sindlinger (2010-13) were the first to accomplish that feat.
Nacos leads 4A with a 75.40 18-hole average and teammate Deanna Peiffer is second at 80.80. They also hold the top two spots in low 18-hole score at 71 and 74, respectively.
The Demons return three starters from last year's championship team that won by 24 strokes. Washington (352.80) averages more than 10 strokes better than Fairfield, which is second in 3A.
The 4A field at Coldwater Links in Ames will include Cedar Rapids Xavier's Amy Olberding and Vinton-Shellsburg duo Lauren and Rachel Tandy. Western Dubuque qualified as a team.
The 3A meet also will be held at Coldwater. Monticello's Laren Ries qualified individually. West Liberty and North Fayette Valley reached as a team.
Jester Park Golf Course in Granger will host the 1A and 2A meets. South Winneshiek made the 2A field. North Cedar's Emily Hay, Courtney Olson of Clayton Ridge and Jesup's Isabelle Distler made the individual competition.
Iowa Valley qualified as a team, and Central City's Jessica Etten and Sigourney's Stacy Mohr advanced to the 1A state meet.
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