Girls varsity golf ends extraordinary season highlighted by third-place finish at States

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Girls varsity golf ends extraordinary season highlighted by third-place finish at States

Eli Romijn, Sports Reporter

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The girls varsity golf team finished their season recently after notching an astounding team-best, a third-place finish at the state tournament. “We had the best finish in school history. It is a reflection of all the hard work the girls put in this year”, said coach Paul Ten Eyck. This event followed a popular trend of first and second-place finishes over the course of this season; the girls took podium finishes in every event they played this year. Seniors Mandy Ehrlich and Ally Ringler led the team with exceptional performances in the events they participated in.

The season started with the two-day long TCC Lober Invitational in Traverse City at the Grand Traverse Resort. The girls secured a second-place finish in an event that hosted 28 other teams thanks to the efforts from Mandy and Ally; Mandy posted a 159 while Ally concluded with a score of 160. This event was closely followed up by the Rangers’ own tournament—the FHC Ranger Invitational, which was held at GVSU’s own The Meadows golf course.  The girls thrived in this event with three golfers finishing in the top 10 individual scorers: Mandy, Ally, and junior Maddie Knoor. Mandy and Ally both shot an 83, and Maddie was not too far behind with a score of 86.

The first event that took place after the start of the school year was the Ottawa Hills Jamboree which took place at Indian Trails. Five of the six Ranger golfers finished with scores under 50. Ally led the way at this event by finishing with an astounding 41 and other notable performances came from Maddie, who shot a 43, and junior Taylor Baumgardner, who ended with a final stroke count of 44.

The girls continued to accomplish top 2 finishes up through the FHN Jamboree, where the girls were close to knocking off the Huskies of FHN. They fell only 14 strokes behind FHN in an event where Mandy played one of her best rounds all year; she finished as a medalist after achieving an exceptional score of 37. In a scramble at the Cedar Springs, it seemed that the momentum carried over from the previous jamboree as the girls took first place. They finally were able to overcome FHN as they tallied a final score of 110; they set themselves at least 8 strokes above the rest of the leaderboard.

The team showed significant improvement from event to event; Maddie said, “The team improved its short game this year because we practiced it a lot which really helped lower everyone’s scores”. Focusing more on the mental aspect of the game, senior Haisley Turnquist stated, “I think we improved in our attitudes and focus throughout the year. We were able to balance out having fun and putting the work in and it made the team pretty successful”.

Further on in the season, at the FHC Jamboree, every golfer that participated scored under 60. Ally finished with another tremendous score, notching an under-40 score with a 38. Ally also shot a 40 later at the Northview Jamboree where Mandy finished with a score of 41. The girls stormed into the postseason following their solid regular season.

The first postseason event for the Rangers was the conference tournament, where they came in second place; the scoring of that event was highlighted by a collective team score of 339 and a 76 and 78 from Ally and Mandy, respectively. With their second-place finish at the conference qualifying them for the next round of playoffs, the team marched on to regionals. At the tournament, the girls achieved another second-place finish. This outing was led by exceptional performances from the Rangers: Mandy with an 86, Ally with an 86, and Maddie with an 89. Taylor and junior Ava Metaj provided support for the team with scores of 100 and 108, respectively.

The culmination of the season’s work was exhibited in the state tournament. The girls had the best state tournament finish in team history when the girls finished in third place, falling only to FHN and South Lyon. The Rangers final score amounted to be 711, which was made up of the same five golfers that participated in the regional tournament. Ally highlighted the scoring by shooting a 167 and Mandy shot a 173. Maddie concluded with a score of 184, while Ava finished at 188 and Taylor finished at 191. “I was so proud of our finish”, said Taylor about the team’s performance at the state tournament.

The girls played well all season and performed under the leadership of the seniors on the team. Ally said that as being a senior on the team, “I believe I was very welcoming and I made sure everyone was having a great experience”. 

When it comes to expectations for the team next year, Ten Eyck said, “Our goals every year are to win conference, regionals, and make it to the state finals”.

“Next year our juniors will need to step up and continue to improve”, said Ten Eyck. This year’s juniors will have to follow in the footsteps of those who led them this year as they strive for success. “I think the players who will be returning will have a great season next year because they know what to expect and they have more experience competing at a varsity level”, said Maddie. This season was a definite success for the team and the girls will look to shatter their expectations next year.

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