By Brad Morris
Westfall coach Kevin Shoults had a simple question for his team following a disappointing third-place finish last week in a Division II Southeast District sectional tournament.
“We left a lot of strokes on the course last week at Jaycees, and it didn’t help we had a later tee time and had to deal with the rain and wind,” he said. “We were disappointed with the result, and I basically asked the girls how much do you want it? If we wanted to continue playing, we had to work hard, get ready for the district tournament and use the advantage we had.”
The advantage that Shoults alluded to was the district tournament being played at the Pickaway Country Club, less than 13 miles away from the Mustangs’ home course of Crown Hill Golf Club.
“We knew that was a potential advantage for us, but you have to put the work into utilizing that advantage,” Shoults said. “We played at Pickaway during the regular-season and then we were over here every day after the sectional to play the course and get very used to how it played and how we needed to manage the course. We probably played close to 150 holes over here since the sectional coming into the district tournament.”
That hard work paid off on Tuesday for the Mustangs, who repeated as district champions and earned a spot in the state tournament.
Westfall topped the six-team field with 376, followed by Sheridan (388) and Gallia Academy (393).
The Mustangs had three new players in their six-person lineup this season, including freshman Alexa Oney and junior Skyann Rogers playing in their first district tournament.
“I’m super proud of our girls, because no one expects a team who finishes third in a sectional to come back a little over a week later and win district,” Shoults said. “It goes back to the hard work our girls put in.
“I’m happy that they were able to experience winning a district championship and will get to play at Ohio State next week in the state tournament.”
Westfall junior Maddi Shoults turned in an even-par 72 to earn district medalist for the second consecutive season. Shoults’ score, which included six birdies, was 13 strokes better than Meigs senior Caitlin Cotterill’s round of 85 that allowed her to qualify for state as an individual.
“I really struggled with my ball striking and not hitting the greens consistently last week,” said Maddi Shoults, who shot an 80 in the sectional tournament. “The conditions were tough and I wasn’t able to get up and down the course for pars like I wanted to.
“I worked a lot this past week on ball striking, and I was able to play more of the round that I am capable of with hitting greens and getting up and down the course.”
Sophomore twins Emily (90) and Maddie (98) Cook followed Shoults’ round and Oney turned in a 116. Rogers also played for the Mustangs and scored 123.
“We had three new girls playing in our lineup this season,” Maddi Shoults said. “They were a little nervous and played a little rough early on, which is understandable with being new to varsity, but they developed a lot over the course of the season and I’m proud of them.
“Emily and Maddie got new clubs at the end of their freshman season, put in a lot of work during the offseason and shaved around 10 strokes off their scores. We really needed that this season.” Circleville freshman Elaina Seeley also competed in the field and finished third overall with a round of 87.
Shoults and her teammates will play next Friday and Saturday in the state tournament at The Ohio State University Gray Golf Course.
“I’m familiar with the golf course from playing there last year and the atmosphere around the state tournament, although things might be a little different this season (with COVID-19),” Maddi Shoults said. “That will be a little bit of an advantage for me over a year ago.”
Shoults, who estimated she has added between 10-to-15 yards on her tee shot compared to last year, will look to earn All-Ohio honors for a second consecutive season after finishing ninth overall last year to finish on second-team.
“It’s all about getting up-and-down the course and managing it,” she said. “I’d like to shoot in the mid-70s like I did last season and place in the top 10 again, although I’d like to get in the top five if I can put together a couple of pretty good rounds.”
Copyright 2020 SportingPumpkin.com. Any unauthorized republication of content on this website is prohibited by law.