BLOOMINGTON — Going into Monday’s Bloomington North Sectional, Columbus East girls golf coach LaDonna VanDeventer had set a target score of 370 for the Olympians to shoot if they wanted to advance to regional as a team.
The Olympians did a little better than that. They finished with a 368 at Cascades and claimed second place to qualify for Saturday’s Franklin Regional.
“It was a great day for us,” VanDeventer said. “We had a score in mind, and even went lower. They did very well. Grace (LaSell) got her (personal record), so I’m very proud of her.”
Despite being a little sick, senior Carter Gant led the Olympians with an 82.
“I am not feeling well,” Gant said. “It was definitely the hardest round of my life, but I’ll take it. I’m really proud of our team. We all did really well today, and we just have positive thoughts going into regional.”
LaSell carded an 86 for East. Dyana Foster added a 96, Ali Trueblood shot 104 and Sophia Begley had a 115.
Led by medalist Melanie Southern’s 75, Bloomington South won the team title with a 358. Martinsville slipped past Columbus North 379-384 for the third-and-final team qualifying spot.
“We were the fourth-ranked team here based on season score average, so we knew we’d have to play pretty well to get through here, and we just didn’t play as well as we could have or should have to move on,” North coach Scott Seavers said. “So we’re just going to work in the offseason and try to get better for next year. We don’t have any seniors, which is a good thing. We’re going to keep our heads up and stay positive.”
The Bull Dogs did advance an individual to regional. Junior Erin Hopkins finished second individually with a 78.
“I improved on the back nine from the front nine by two strokes, so that was nice,” Hopkins said. “I think overall, I played good. I had a solid score, but I feel like I did worse than a 78 today.”
Also for North, Lindsey Hartwell carded a 92, Kara Buntin added a 95, Ana Pavlov shot 119 and Harper Andresen had a 127.
Hopkins now will try to claim one of the two individual qualifying spots from Saturday’s regional at The Legends.
“I’m really hoping for that,” Hopkins said. “If I get my game going at regional, I think it’s a possibility to make it to state individually.”
“I’m happy for Erin,” Seavers added. “Her goal is to play in the state finals, and this is just one step toward that. She’s capable of playing really well next weekend, and she’s going to do the right things this week to get ready for that. Hopefully, she can go over there and play well at Franklin.”
Brown County also had an individual qualify for regional. Junior Lilly VanNess tied for third individually with an 80.
“It’s definitely a big accomplishment, and it’s something that I wanted to do for a really long time,” VanNess said. “I’m glad I was finally able to do it and pull it off. My putting could have definitely been a lot better. I could have improved there, but overall, I was hitting the ball straight and pretty well, so I’m pretty happy with it. “
“Lilly has been doing pretty well most of the year,” added her father and co-coach, Ben VanNess. “She’s really hit her stride in the last month where she’s getting some confidence. She finished strong. She had a little rough start and rough middle, but to shoot 80, she has to be pretty pleased with it.”
The Eagles finished seventh as a team with a 428. Chloe Poling carded a 111, Savannah Poling added a 113, Caitlin Seet shot 124 and Caitlynn Lookebill had a 137.
“We got about what we expected,” Ben VanNess said. “We were hoping to maybe beat a few more teams, but we’re slightly under our season average, so we’re not disappointed at all. We have a lot of younger girls, one senior and the rest are all underclassmen, with two new girls that just started playing golf in July. We learned a lot.”
Edinburgh finished ninth with a 440. Izzy Richardson led the Lancers with a 90, while Macie Blandford added a 94, Bella Turner shot 125 and Sophia Pace had a 131.
“I think we put up a pretty good fight,” Edinburgh coach Jessica Carie said. “We didn’t give up. That 440 is one of our better scores.”