Free-and-easy Wildcats calm regionalSeptember 24, 2012
From Herald Staff Reports
EVANSVILLE — They came, they danced, they snorted, they conquered.
Just another round as usual for the Jasper girls golf team.
The Wildcats captured the program’s fifth regional title Saturday at Eagle Valley Golf Course in Evansville, outlasting a stacked field that included six ranked teams by doing what they do best. No. 8 Jasper assembled five remarkably steady scores, from the first Wildcat to the last. The Cats leaned on their two leaders, as Annie Getzin’s 77 was the third-best score of the day and MeKenzie Hilsmeyer was right behind with a 78. And, perhaps most importantly, they had a blast along the way.
The day began with the Cats watching and giggling and jamming to a viral video by a Korean rapper on the bus ride to Evansville, and it ended with a celebration at Buffalo Wings and Rings after Jasper (323) topped No. 18 Castle (331) and No. 14 Evansville North (337), the other two teams to qualify for the state finals Friday and Saturday at The Legends of Indiana Golf Club at Franklin. No. 7 Bloomington South (338) was fourth, followed by No. 16 Columbus North (340), Floyd Central (341), North Posey (351) and No. 17 Columbus East (352).
Two Southridge seniors finished their careers at the regional, as Allison Bounds carded an 88 and Jessica Oser produced a 97 as both Raiders competed individually.
The Cats, meanwhile, are finals bound for the third consecutive season. Just as they sensed they’d be.
“We were just together as an team the entire day, and we just kind of knew we were meant to go to state (this) year,” Getzin said. “We just felt it, because the team was so close and we were having so much fun.”
So much fun, that a dance party broke out.
When slow play on the fourth hole backed up three groups, Getzin and teammates Janelle Gore and Emily Horney spent the down time dancing. They even took requests. A coach from an opposing team asked if they’d do “the sprinkler” dance move.
They were more than happy to oblige.
“We were just having fun, just trying to relax, get over those nerves,” Getzin said.
Jasper coach Steve Milligan just laughed, and silently thought his players were crazy.
But crazy had a funny effect on the scoring, and Milligan didn’t douse the enthusiasm.
“I could have went up to them and said, ‘Girls, cut it off.’ But that’s the way they’ve played all year, is loose,” Milligan said. “There were some times on the course that I thought our girls were the loose ones and the other teams were very tight.”
Horney finished with an 83, Annika Harmon added an 85 and Gore supplied an 88 for Jasper, the only team with all five golfers to shoot better than 90.
“That’s what it’s been all year; we’ve not had too much scoring apart,” Milligan said. “It just shows that (balanced) scoring is what it takes to get where you want to be at to get to the state (finals).”
The Cats were relatively certain those balanced scores would catapult them there — but with rival Castle in the last group of the day to finish, Jasper surmised that the Knights had a shot to claim the regional title, too.
Not that the Cats were stressing about it.
While waiting for the rest of the groups to finish, Jasper’s golfers amused themselves with games. One was “snort,” which is as crude as it sounds — go up to someone, snort loudly in their face, and they’ve got to refrain from laughing.
“We got some videos,” Getzin said. “It was the funniest thing.”
The Cats could unwind by then, because the serious business of the day was sewed up.
Milligan said the Cats didn’t show up merely wanting to qualify for the state finals, but “we wanted to win the regional,” he said. Jasper also weathered the blustery conditions with gusts around 25 mph, and Milligan considered that a proper practice round for The Legends, a course on Franklin’s periphery that tends to be windy.
Another RSVP for the state finals was contingent on every Wildcat — from Harmon, who holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the first hole — to Hilsmeyer and Gore and Horney, who all improved their back-nine scores from the front — to Getzin, who posted the team’s top score for the first time in the last seven outings.
“Every girl did something all day. I knew it was going to be a special day, because they all did something special all day to win that,” Milligan said.
“The girls had a mission to get (to state), and now they got the chance to play up there, and that’s what they’re after.”
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