116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARSHALLTOWN — In addition to her regulation set of clubs, various tees and golf balls, Sarah Nacos also packs an assortment of snacks.
Almonds are a must. She will include saltines and an occasional candy bar. Sometimes she grabs a sandwich at the turn.
The junior from Washington (Iowa) fuels up after she hits the course, because butterflies fill her stomach, preventing her from eating much before big rounds.
'Once I get out here and off the first tee, I have so much food,' Nacos said. 'My bag is so heavy because of all the food I carry. I know I need energy, but I can't eat in the mornings.'
Nacos devoured the competition for her third state title at the Class 4A state golf meet Wednesday at Elmwood Country Club. She fired 76 in the second round, giving her a two-day total of 154 and winning by 23 strokes.
She became the eighth player in state history to win at least three state crowns and has a chance to join Dubuque's Sharon Fladoos (1958-61) and Charles City's Jessie Sindlinger (2010-13) as the only four-time state medalists.
'It never gets old,' Nacos said about winning. 'It's a great experience.
'It feels good because I work all high school season for this. It really pays off and that is what I love about it.'
This time came with a little more stress. Washington Coach Leonard 'L.L.' Kull said she placed added pressure on herself this season and praised her for battling through it.
'She's been thinking about this the last month,' Kull said. 'It kind of weighed on her. I'm sure she's relieved and glad to be able to repeat (again)."
Nacos benefited from extra work, playing the course multiple times before the event. She demonstrated her versatility, winning each of her championships on different courses with varied layouts.
'They are so different,' Nacos said. 'I think different is good. It shows you can play on any course and in any element.'
Nacos was the only golfer to card rounds under 80, shooting 7-over 78 in the first round. She knew the tight and hilly course with challenging greens would test her resolve. She managed five birdies, including three Wednesday.
'This course is not easy,' Nacos said. 'There is no room for error, so you had to be hitting your drives well. You had to hit greens and you had to hit down on them to hold, because they don't hold very well.'
The chance to save strokes came at the par-3 holes. She went 1-under on the four par-3 holes in the second round and birdied the 146-yard 16th hole both rounds. Nacos has thrived on short holes all year and her accuracy is even better without rough or bad lies.
'Her distance control is super,' Kull said. 'She's able to get proper distance most of the time. Since she's hitting off the tee, that's even more to her advantage.'
Allison Vogel and Megan Strabala contributed to the team totals both days. Emily Waite scored the first round, while Carly Burlingame cracked the top four in the second. Strabala placed 14th overall with 188.
Washington finished third as a team and returns all of its starters.
'I give them all credit for giving me everything they had throughout the year,' Kull said. 'It culminated with getting here and finishing third. Hopefully, they're pleased with the outcome.'
In Class 2A, South Winneshiek's Jaden Schweinefus carded a 1-over 72 at Jester Park Golf Course in Granger and finished third with 161. Clayton Ridge's Courtney Olson wasn't far behind, placing fifth with a 168. Jesup's Isabelle Distler was ninth, shooting 175.
Tipton finished fourth in the 2A team race. The Tigers shot 372 in the second round and ended with 757. Kailee Meyer was 17th at 185 to lead Tipton.
Monticello's Lauren Ries shot 86 Wednesday, giving her a total of 171 and tying for seventh in the 3A individual standings at Lake Panorama National Golf Course in Panora.
Iowa City West senior Jordan Amelon made her fourth state appearance. She tied for 12th at Coldwater Links in Ames, shooting two rounds of 81 for a total of 162. Linn-Mar was seventh with 748.
Cedar Rapids Xavier Coach Julie Kadlec received the IGHSAU's Golden Plaque of Distinction Award before Tuesday's first round. Kadlec has served as the Saints' girls' golf coach since the school opened in 1998. She has led four teams to the state tournament, including the 2014 4A championship squad. Kadlec began coaching Cedar Rapids Regis in 1980, leading a combined Regis and Cedar Rapids LaSalle team until the two schools merged to form Xavier.
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