Plymouth’s girls golf team is taking a relaxed approach to the East Noble Regional this weekend.
After advancing out of the Warsaw Sectional with a third-place finish last Saturday, the Lady Pilgrims are looking at whatever they can do this weekend is icing on the cake.
“It’s probably beyond our expectations to be playing at the regional,” said Plymouth girls golf coach Bruce Rearick. “If you looked at the girls’ schedules, some of them had scheduled dentists appointments and other activities thinking we’d be done, that we wouldn’t get out of sectionals. We have a free shot at it. Nobody’s got real high expectations of us getting out of regional, and there are a lot of good teams in there. It really steps up at this point.”
Not that the Pilgrims think they’re out of contention, either.
Plymouth plans to be competitive for one of the top three team spots that would guarantee the team its first state berth since 2008, and Rearick believes his team has a shot behind defending state runner-up Penn, which advanced to Saturday’s meet at Cobblestone in Kendallville with a championship at its home sectional last Friday.
“I think as far as who’s our competition, obviously Penn, and then it’s kind of up for grabs,” he said. “Warsaw’s got a run, NorthWood will be right in there. There are some real good individual players. Katie Sharp, she’s from East Noble and she shot 65 in the sectional, so she can carry a team with those kind of numbers. And she shot 65 at the golf course we’re playing in as a sophomore. Anna Wilcoxson from St. Joe’s another one that can play good enough to carry a team. It’s going to take our best round of the year, but, hey, everybody’s got a puncher’s chance.”
It’s going to be a case of drive for show, putt for dough at Cobblestone, a course that should neutralize the length advantage of some of the other teams the Lady Pilgrims are facing.
“It’s a good course for us. Where we would be at a real disadvantage is if we were playing these teams at 5,200 or 5,300 yards, but we’re not. We’re playing at about 5,000 yards, which keeps us in the game,” said Rearick. “The drive length that some of the girls and some of the teams have an advantage on is kind of taken away from them on this golf course. We like our chances. It’s a straightforward course; there aren’t any tricky holes, really. Our practice round went well. Our girls can handle the course.”
While Plymouth is gearing up for the East Noble tourney, John Glenn prepares to make a trip down to the Lafayette Jefferson Regional at the Battleground Saturday.
The Lady Falcons are flying high after a surprise runner-up finish in their first LaPorte Sectional tournament last Friday, when they tied with Northern State Conference foe New Prairie for second place with a 422, two strokes ahead of the host Slicers.
“Last Friday was a roller coaster of emotions once we finished the 18 holes,” said Glenn head coach Randy Schmeltz. “First, Presley Gee came in huge for us at the number five position and scored a par on the last hole with everyone watching. Shortly after we find out we are tied with New Prairie all the way to our fifth score at 422. We are told to warm up for a playoff for the third position, creating more emotion, only to find out LaPorte posted a 424, giving both us and New Prairie a spot in the regional as the second and third team qualifier.”
Glenn will face a stacked field including three state-ranked teams in No. 6 Chesterton, No. 9 Valparaiso and No. 10 Lafayette Jefferson, as well as Indiana High School Golf Coaches Association Honorable Mention Western. The Falcons are looking for a strong finish as they use Saturday’s regional as a stepping stone into the future.
“The girls are very excited and eager to go down to Battleground Golf Course and compete at a new level,” said Schmeltz. “This experience should create a great springboard affect on our preparation for next year’s season. Glenn is no doubt a big underdog at this regional, but this opportunity only comes every so often… We cannot control what the other teams will do at regional, but we will come and play our best, make good decisions and hope to continue our improvements at each stage and enjoy the ride.”
Also Saturday, LaVille freshman Lauren Rearick will make a solo appearance at East Noble after carding an 84 in the Penn Sectional at Knollwood to earn an individual regional berth. Culver Girls Academy missed a team berth to the tourney in fifth place at Warsaw, but the Lady Eagles were given a nice consolation prize when both Samantha Seibel and Mackenzie Toth earned individual berths to East Noble with respective scores of 86 and 95 at Stonehenge. It is the second such berth for Toth, who narrowly beat out teammate Seibel in a playoff for the final individual ticket out to regional last year.
Instead of the usual top three scores for individuals from non-advancing teams earning individual state berths, the IHSAA has extended berths to the lowest five individuals from each regional this year.