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Talented and together Cedar Rapids Washington girls’ golf team aims to qualify for state
Warriors aren’t sure when the school last qualified
CEDAR RAPIDS — Camaraderie and commitment.
Cedar Rapids Washington’s girls’ golf team has plenty of both, meeting for weekend rounds away from competition, having pre-meet breakfast and coming together for practice rounds. The goal is to parlay that into a feat that has escaped the Warriors for a long time.
“The chemistry on the team is amazing,” Washington sophomore Jane Petersen said. “The drive to get to state is just awesome.”
Washington will have its shot Wednesday, traveling to a Class 4A regional meet at Irv Warren Golf Course in Waterloo. The fifth-ranked Warriors and No. 3 Linn-Mar highlight the 10-team field vying for two team berths to the state tournament May 25-26 at Otter Creek Golf Course in Ankeny.
“I think, as a team, we’re all very excited,” Petersen said. “We’re going to go in and just have fun. Play a nice, easy and comfortable round.”
Coach and former Activities Director Denny Goettel isn’t sure the last time Washington has qualified as a team, suggesting it could date back to the early 2000s. He hopes to have an answer soon.
“We’ve talked about it,” Goettel said about the team advancing. “We’ve tried not to be obsessed about it the last few weeks. We just worked on our game and take it where it leads us.”
Petersen, who placed 12th at state as a freshman, said the team has worked toward a state trip as a team. The Warriors exude an energy directed to improving, so they can achieve that feat.
“They have put in countless hours,” Petersen said. “Everyone has been hard-working this year. We are focused on a goal.”
The Warriors have put themselves in that position. Progress has been a product of hard work. The Warriors have demonstrated their mettle, devoting a lot of time on their putting and chipping. Improved short games are a good way to trim scores.
“I would say that has been really important,” Goettel said. “Our top six hardly had a day off in the last two weeks. It hasn’t been because we practice every day. They want to put the time in. I’m really appreciative of that.”
Among that are Mya Messenger and Barker, who joined Petersen as first-team all-Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division performers and helped Washington to a runner-up team finish behind Linn-Mar. Messenger and Barker also qualified for state tennis, pulling double-duty all season, which heightens with both postseasons. They have exhibited discipline to thrive in both sports and the classroom.
“They have a busy week,” Goettel said. “They are burning candles on both ends. It takes a lot of dedication for them to have something big every day. Now, every day there is something big.”
Washington owns a 178.49 combined adjusted team average, trailing the Lions by a little more than five but leading Marshalltown — the regional’s next closest team — by about 13.
Petersen leads the way with a 79.98 adjusted 18-hole average. Messenger is close behind at 81.18, while Belle Barker comes in at 87.58. Lydia Nichols, Mackenzie Parks and Hannah Hoer round out the lineup.
Parks carded a 93 at Monday’s divisional to round out the scoring. Goettel said Nichols had strong showings last week. Washington will need a complete team effort to extend everyone’s season.
“I think we’ve been playing better lately,” Goettel said. “Our Nos. 4, 5 and 6 golfers have gotten better, so that is helping us. I think we have settled in.
“It takes four. We have to come through.”