Jackson’s 78 highlights big day for LHS golf
When Lansing High sophomore golfer Maria Jackson placed second at the first tournament of the season on April 1, she credited the performance to improved focus and a little bit of luck.
When she placed third Monday at the Lansing Invitational, however, Jackson's career-best round of 78 was a clear sign that the young golfer's game was maturing.
After all, she had a nightmarish four-putt early in her round that would have derailed her a year ago.
"Oh gosh, I made the dumbest mistake," Jackson laughed about the lone hiccup of her round. "I was seven feet away."
Instead of grumbling about the mistake, she shrugged it off and birdied the next hole. Then she was back on cruise control.
"It was probably the most relaxed I've felt in a long time," she said of her round on the home course at Leavenworth Country Club.
Lansing placed second overall at the tournament with a team score of 338. Perennial Class 4A power Topeka Hayden was first with a 312. Mill Valley was third at 340.
Jackson was Lansing's lone medalist, but a few others came close. Stefan Froelich shot an 86, Andrew Cameron and Max Kozak posted 87s, Ted Haugland shot a 93 and Javen Kelly had a 99.
"Hopefully we'll keep moving in the right direction," LHS coach Bill Pekarek said. "We need more people to step up and play better, but we're getting better."
Jackson has been Lansing's most consistent player. She has shot 88 or better in all three tournaments this year. Jackson attributed her success to the support of her teammates for keeping her focused. Fittingly, Cameron was the first to congratulate Jackson on her round.
"I'm proud of her," he said. "She's doing a lot better this year."
Monday marked a day of major improvements for the entire Lansing squad. Almost every player knocked at least five strokes off their previous best score of the season. Pekarek said that was a great first step, but he'd like to see it replicated when the varsity returns to action April 22 at Osawatomie.
"We're trying to emphasize our short game because I think that's an area where we can get better at," he said.
Cameron said the Lions could build off Monday's performance.
"The momentum is kind of going with us as a team," he said. "We've got to keep that rolling so that by the time regionals and league come around, as a team we'll be doing a lot better."
Although the varsity squad does not compete this week, the junior varsity will be in action three times. LHS will compete at 3 p.m. today at De Soto, at 3 p.m. Monday at Horton and then at 3 p.m. Tuesday at The Oaks.
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