A near perfect golf season for the Broken Bow girls golf team started at last year’s state tournament at Lake Maloney Golf Course south of North Platte.
In a tightly contested team race eventually won by Lincoln Lutheran, the Indians had the low team score of the second day that led them to a fifth place finish, but just 16 shots behind the champion Warriors.
“I think after that day, our girls just kind of had the mindset that if they put in the work, they had the opportunity to win a state championship,” Broken Bow coach Kelly Cooksley said. “We really kind of started this thing in June; Covid helped us to be honest. The girls played together and went out and competed in a lot of events this summer.”
And, while Cooksley had all five players back from last year’s team, he’s inserted freshman Camryn Johnson in the lineup for senior Joscelyn Coleman, who has been hampered by a rib injury most of the year.
Coleman had the Indians second best score at state last year, but Johnson has held her own, too. Her 81 at districts last Monday at Indianhead Golf Club in Grand Island was good enough for second place behind champion Angela Messere of Grand Island Central Catholic. Johnson was three shots ahead of defending state champion Lynzi Becker of Cozad.
“Joscelyn has been with us at conference and districts as our alternate and she is here at state,” Cooksley said. “Our team loves her, she’s a great teammate who is team first on everything we do. She brings a great amount of positive energy to our team.”
This year, the Indians have kept up with Cooksley’s high expectations. They have won every meet they have been in, except the Lexington Invite where they finished third behind Class A favorite North Platte and Class B defending champion Scottsbluff.
Bow won the Southwest Conference for the first time in school history and broke the team scoring record multiple times with a low of 346 at that conference meet in Cozad. They had other team titles at Holdrege, Gothenburg, Broken Bow, GICC and Kearney Catholic.
“I think probably our depth sets us apart from a few other teams,” Cooksley said. “When we are able to get all six kids to medal at the district meet it gives us a little more room for error than some others teams.”
Cooksley lineup for Columbus on Monday and Tuesday features three seniors, Johnson and junior Emery Custer who was fifth at districts. The seniors — Madison Jackson (7th at districts), Avery Campbell (9th) and Graycee Oeltjen (10th) — have provided invaluable leadership.
“All of our seniors are just great kids and great leaders,” the coach said. “They love being with their teammates, but also will hold each other accountable to get the best out of each other. Two of them have been here three times now.”
While Cooksley feels really good about his team, he knows that Class C will be a closely contested team race.
“This year, there are a lot of really good individuals and most of the teams competing that have one of those top players,” Cooksley said. “Lincoln Christian and Lincoln Lutheran look really good. And, West Point-Beemer has everyone back from last year.
“And, you have a lot of young freshman that could have an impact and it might come down to one of them carrying their team to victory.”
Other district champions included: Lincoln Christian (378), Boone Central (395), West Point-Beemer (397) and Mitchell (386). Defending champion Lincoln Lutheran was second behind Christian at 383.
Individual champions in districts were Olivia Lovegrove, Lincoln Christian (77), Abbigail Brodersen, Boone Central (77), Brook Dekemper, West Point-Beemer (80), Angela Messere, Grand Island Central Catholic (80) and Payton Wise, Kimball (76). Defending champion Becker was third at Indianhead, with Brodersen and Wise finishing behind her last year.
Some would argue this could be the most competitive Class A field in history. Returning champion Kaitlyn Hanna from Omaha Westside leads a loaded field that also includes eight of the top-9 finishers from 2019 at Norfolk Country Club.
Hanna’s 152 score from 2019 included a first round 72, before windy conditions prevailed during Tuesday’s play. Last week, in district play at Elks Country Club in Columbus, Hanna fired a 1-over par 73 and finished second to Lincoln Pius X’s Nicole Kolbas. Lincoln Southwest won the team title in 2019 by 15 shots over North Platte, with both teams back for the 2020 event.
In district play last week, North Platte (311), Millard North (339), Lincoln East (341) and Lincoln Pius X (336) all won teams titles. Individual champions: Baylee Steele, North Platte (70); Katelyn Ruge, Millard North (70); Jeslynn Baumgart, Omaha Marian (78); Kolbas, Lincoln Pius X (72).
Steele, an Omaha golf recruit, and Karsen Morrison led North Platte last year finishing tied for sixth. Morrison was one behind Steele at districts with a 71. Ruge, fourth last year as a sophomore, won her district by 15 shots at Awarii Dunes. Kolbas and Hanna were 10 and nine shots clear of the field in district play.
With 2019 champion Danica Badura now playing at the University of South Dakota, the Class B individual race looks a little more wide open this year. But, the team race shows defending champion Scottsbluff as a heavy favorite for the tournament at Monument Shadows in Gering.
Scottsbluff won their district last week with an impressive 325 team score at Heritage Hills in McCook. So dominate were the Bearcats, that their score that didn’t count — senior Hayley Holzworth’s 93 — was good enough for sixth place individually. Sophomore Anna Kelley, second to Badura at state last year, won with a 77.
Other district champions were: Nebraska City (376), Elkhorn North (367) and York (380). Individual champions included: Alexis Nothelfer, Omaha Gross (81), Emily Karmazin, Elkhorn North (77); and Riley Stuhr, York (86).
Madilyne Schlaepfer from Gering and Emily Krzyzanowski of Scottsbluff shot 79 and were second to Kelley at McCook. Schlaepfer finished fifth last year, Krzyzanowski 6th and Stuhr 8th. Karmazin, at the new Elkhorn North, finished 12th in Class A last year while competing for Elkhorn High.