Prep Sports

Sarah Nacos shoots for best golf season yet with Washington Demons

Nacos looks for 4th individual state title, 4th team trophy

Three-time state champion Sarah Nacos of Washington (Iowa). (Washington Evening Journal)
Three-time state champion Sarah Nacos of Washington (Iowa). (Washington Evening Journal)

WASHINGTON — The spring golf season promises to be a memorable one for Sarah Nacos.

She could cap her prep career at Washington (Iowa) with more individual and team success that has been constant in her first three seasons. It also means the final campaign for her and fellow seniors Megan Strabala and Allison Vogel.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” said Nacos, who has committed to play golf at Bradley University. “It has just been such a good ride here at Washington with the golf team. It’s going to be really hard to say goodbye, so the other two seniors and I are trying to make this the best season, yet.”

Nacos has the opportunity to become just the third prep golfer in Iowa history to win four state golf titles this spring, while the Demons return all six starters from a Class 4A third-place team from last season.

She anxiously awaited the start to the varsity season since winning last year’s state crown by a whopping 23 strokes and Washington earned its third straight team trophy after back-to-back team championships in 2015 and 2016.

“I’m really excited for it to start,” Nacos said. “I’ve been waiting for it to start.”

Nacos added her name to elite groups in two of her first three seasons. She was just the seventh freshman to win state medalist honors. As a junior, Nacos became the eighth three-time champion. Nacos can join Dubuque’s Sharon Fladoos (1958-61) and Charles City’s Jessie Sindlinger (2010-13) as the only four-time state champions.

“It’s definitely motivation to practice and continue to get better,” Nacos said. “I think we all know nothing is ever guaranteed. Even starting with the first tournament, it’s just literally one stroke at a time. Once golf season starts, we usually don’t talk about anything that’s after conference.

“We just don’t talk about it. It just helps to stay focus.”

Nacos is very dedicated to her craft, leading 4A with a 36.8 nine-hole average and 77.57 over 18. She ranked fifth among all classes with a combined adjusted average of 38.81.

The offseason was filled with competitions, hitting her home course and the range when the tournament schedule ended. She would visit indoor simulators and her swing coach in Riverside when the weather wasn’t conducive to outdoor play.

The summer was filled with tournaments and travel, competing against some of the best golfers in Iowa and neighboring states. Nacos played in Missouri and Illinois and competed in a tournament in Kansas City. She qualified for the PGA National Championships last summer in St. Louis, Mo.

This has been a constant, and a winning formula, during her prep career.

“It’s been the same as the last three years,” said Nacos, estimating she plays golf 10 months of the year, taking a break to lead the basketball team in scoring and 3-point field goals. “I play throughout the summer and travel around the Midwest.”

A familiar face is on the roster as well. Nacos will get to play with her sister, Anna, who is a freshman, adding to the excitement for the season.

Nacos and the Demons will compete in 3A this season with the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union moving back to four classes. Strabala and Vogel averaged 49.20 per nine holes. Carly Burlingame provided a solid fourth score.

The Demons possess depth with eight players on the roster capable of playing, including sophomore Emily Waite and freshmen Kiki Guo and Josie Tanner.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of competition on the team,” Nacos said. “I think it’s going to push everyone, because everyone wants a spot.

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“Honestly, you’re just trying to get in the van to go to the tournament. You want to be one of the six they can count.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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