Prep Sports

Sisters of swing: Sarah and Anna Nacos lead Washington girls' golf

Demons return to state golf meet, Sarah Nacos goes for fourth title

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WASHINGTON — Senior Sarah Nacos and her freshman sister, Anna, have been together most of their golf careers.

Before a switch to a swing coach in recent years, they learned the basics together from their father, David, who alternated between the two as they hit balls on the driving range.

The two entered the same tournaments, but were always in different age divisions.

“We practiced together for a good deal of time,” said Sarah, who is attempting to become Iowa’s third four-time state medalist. “There was only one of dad and two of us.

“He gave us tips and coached us. We spent a lot of time together.”

Finally, the sister duo played alongside each other this spring, leading Washington (Iowa) back to the state golf meet. The older Nacos will try to close her career with another individual title, while the Demons look for their fourth straight team trophy and third title in four years, during the Class 3A competition Tuesday and Wednesday at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames. Action starts at 9 a.m. each day.

“It was actually really fun,” Sarah said. “She brought a lot of positivity to the team. She always wants me to do well. It’s always fun after the meet and we see how each other did.”

Even though she wasn’t on the team, Anna has been there for most of her sibling’s title runs. She had to settle for multiple text updates from her mom and oldest sister during last year’s 23-stroke victory, missing it due to her Driver’s Education class.

Anna did watch Sarah beat the field by seven strokes as a freshman and nine the following year. She recalled that first state meet, but visions of playing in it with her sister weren’t in focus, yet.

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“I remember not knowing much about the state meet,” Anna said. “I followed and it was really long. I think there were four holes left and Sarah was neck-and-neck with a girl. They had a huge entourage show up, following them.”

They have the regular sibling conflicts, including minor arguments like who gets ready first in the morning and who used the hairbrush last. For the most part, they support each other when it comes to athletics. They each have a unique perspective with Sarah closing her prep career and Anna just getting started.

“I don’t think we ever really fight in sports,” Sarah Nacos said. “I think that is because we have different views about it maybe. We get along pretty well, I think.”

Anna said she can see traces of support and competitiveness between the two. It depends on the sport as well. They played varsity basketball together in the winter.

“In basketball, it’s a little hard to be competitive because we weren’t playing the same spot,” Anna said. “In golf, we are a little farther apart, too. She’s more experienced than I am in the high school and state realm. She has three years on me so that’s a big difference.”

Don’t think a sibling rivalry doesn’t exist, albeit a small one.

“There is competitiveness,” Sarah said. “You never want to have your little sister beat you but she did beat me earlier this year.”

The younger Nacos has made her mark this season, averaging 81 per 18 holes and trailing Sarah by seven. She also posted her best round of 74 to edge her sister by a stroke.

“It was a meet where everything worked — my driver, irons, putting,” Anna said. “It was actually a fun meet and I was just happy that I shot in the low 70s because I had been in the high 70s before but not below 75 in a high school tournament. It was pretty cool.”

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Anna still didn’t think it was enough to come out on top. Sarah finished her round and reached the clubhouse where the rest of her family were waiting. She got a strange vibe when she arrived.

“I came in and she was kind of smirking. I think she knew because dad came in and he was following me, while my mom was following her,” Sarah said. “I wasn’t mad, because she had been right on the cusp of breaking 80 and that was her first doing it, so I was excited for her.

“Everyone was like, ‘Your little sister beats you’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, she’s good.’ I still haven’t heard the end of it.”

The sisters have two more high school rounds remaining. Anna has looked up to Sarah and would like to follow in her footsteps. She will be sad when Sarah ends her golf season, similar to how she felt during Senior Night in basketball.

“She set so many goals that I would love to achieve,” Anna Nacos said. “She set the bar pretty high in her high school career.”

Sarah ranks second in 3A with a 74 18-hole average and is third in all classes. Gilbert’s Britta Snyder leads the entire state at 68.33. Sarah will have a major challenge to join Dubuque’s Sharon Fladoos (1958-61) and Charles City’s Jessie Sindlinger (2010-13) as the only four-time state champions.

She isn’t concerned with individual feats. The team goal is more important to her. The Demons are first in 3A with a team average of 326. They will attempt to improve last year’s third-place finish after winning consecutive time titles in 2015-16.

“I just want try to go out and play my best.

“It’s not even playing for myself anymore. It’s playing for my team, because if I was given a choice I would rather enjoy a state championship with my team than me personally.

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“Not many people can say that they competed with their sister at the state tournament and won. When I think on that level I don’t get as nervous. It’s just playing as best as I can and just trying to help the team win it. I think if you play for something bigger than yourself then things turn out better.”

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

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