BLHS golfers learn from state tourney
As Basehor-Linwood golfers Nicole Vasquez and Marissa Dove walked off of the final green Monday at Highlands Country Club in Hutchinson, they brought to a close a season of growth.
The pair competed at the Class 4A state tournament. Vasquez shot a 125 with a 60 on the front and a 65 on the back nine. Dove finished with a 138, shooting a 74 on the front nine before rebounding with a 64 on the back nine.
While they wanted to play better, coach Ben Chapman said he was pleased with how his players competed.
“I am very proud of their performance,” he said. “As they finished up their rounds yesterday, I could tell they wished they had played better. My first question to them was, “‘Did you have fun?’”
The question helped put things in perspective for the players. Entering the tournament, he had invited them to revisit their goals from earlier in the season.
“I reminded them of what our goal was at the beginning of the season and whether or not they felt they had accomplished that goal,” he said. “We agreed that we had, so it was time to go out and have fun and enjoy what they had earned this season.”
While he said it was difficult to match the success the players experienced at regionals, they had shown progress in playing an 18-hole golf course.
The Bobcats played a few times on 18-hole golf courses this season, and this was the toughest course the team had played. It was an adjustment in length and difficulty from the 9-hole courses they’d played.
While the difficulty of the course was greater, the players shot similar scores, which Chapman said was a sign of improvement.
The state appearance also capped the program’s rapid ascent from a relatively unknown squad with just four sophomores to one that is again on the main stage.
“We were a very young team, and to take two of them to state is huge,” Chapman said. “We want to use this to build the program. You don’t have to grow up on a golf course to experience success in this sport. You just need to have the desire to improve. Hopefully, this will light a fire under the girls and they will want to keep practicing in the offseason and play even more in the summer.”
In all, the tournament was part of a season spent laying the foundation for future success.
“Playing in high profile tournaments like this provides tremendous opportunities for growth,” Chapman said. “Golf is not a sport where you play against someone else. You play the course ... you play yourself. Of course you feel pressure and stress when you compete at higher and higher levels, but now we can say we’ve been there and done that, and that pressure and stress is not as prevalent next time.”
Topeka Hayden won the state title with a team score of 348, followed by Concordia with 411 and Cheney with 429. Hayden sophomore Brooke LaRue was the individual state champion with a 75. Hayden senior Lauren Falley, the 2008 state champ, was second with an 82.