OV junior earns trip after playoff
by Keith Stewart
Four area golf teams competed at various post-season golf competitions this past week. Emerging from the dust to compete at the state series is lone female Paige Harlin of Okaw Valley High School. Area results are as follows:
The boys competed in Toledo Tuesday, October 8, but did not qualify as a team out of the regional, shooting a combined 423 for ninth place.
Lone sophomore Sam Mulligan, however, did shoot a 91 after 18 holes, qualifying him for the Bismarck-Henning Sectional on Monday. There, Mulligan shot a 99, placing him in the middle of the pack but not high enough to make a state run.
For the girls, they competed at the Charleston Country Club Wednesday, October 9 and finished fourth with a combined score of 506, missing the third place qualifier by 52 strokes. Senior Emmalee Hortenstine, however, did shoot the fourth best individual score of 92 to qualify for sectionals.
Travelling to Gibson City Monday, Hortenstine shot a 95, just four strokes out from qualifying for state.
Coming through on one of the team’s goals, the Timberwolves successfully sent their team onto sectionals after finishing third in the Toledo regional October 8.
Together, the team shot a 384 and only qualified after winning a shootout with Shelbyville.
“We ended up sneaking out,” said head coach Andy Wagner. “We didn’t play great, but we did pretty decent. Fortunately in the game of golf, it was good enough to advance.”
OV was led by juniors Devon Still and Jay Orris, who each shot a 94, while sophomore Drew Fruchtl shot a 95, followed by Colton Sroka’s 101 and Logan Tipsword’s 112.
Also competing in the Bismarck-Henning sectional, OV finished next to last as a team with a combined score of 391.
While none of the boys advanced onto state, junior female Paige Harlin did, but not without first overcoming a playoff after tying for 10th.
“I knew I was going to have to go through the playoff,” said Harlin, who shot a 91. “Honestly, I thought I would throw up it was so extremely nerve racking.”
After tying on the first two holes of the playoff, Harlin won out, paring on the third playoff hole, earning her the final spot for state.
“I honestly didn’t realize I had won until everyone started congratulating me,” said Harlin. “Then it was just this overwhelming astonishment.”
“This is going to be an absolute awesome experience for her,” added the OV coach. “I want her to enjoy every moment. I think the first thing she has to understand is she’s in a place where a whole lot of girls would like to trade her spots, so she needs to go in there and enjoy playing golf in what is the last two days of the season, period. That means she’s reached the top, the highest playing field, so I think she has to know she belongs. I think that’s the biggest thing, she deserves to be there, and she earned her way there.”
The junior will travel to Decatur’s Red Tail Run Friday and Saturday to compete. There, according to her coach, she will need to show improvement in her short game, especially on putts, if she hopes to have a good showing.
“I expect her to three-putt a few times, but I expect her to eliminate the majority of her three-putts,” said Wagner. “She hasn’t putted very well recently, but we’ve had a good few days here and had the opportunity to get that in gear.”
The first year co-op between the three schools pushed the boys’ golf team into class 2A competition, despite most of its regular season schedule having been against 1A teams.
The disparity proved fatal for a team that finished 15-3, with neither the team nor any individuals advancing out of the regional.
ALAHA finished 10th with a combined score of 374.
Clayton Miller led the team with an 87, four strokes out from the cutoff of 83. He was followed by Noah Yantis’ 89, Chris Davis’ 93, Cole Drake’s 105, Shandon Herschberger’s 110, and Robert Hill’s 118.
Bailey Conner of Arcola did advance to the sectionals with a score of 119, but she did not make it past Railside Golf Course Monday after shooting another 119.
Despite finishing last in the Toledo regional as a team (442), Windsor sophomore Tristan Warner advanced to sectionals after shooting the fifth best individual score of 89. He did not, however, advance out of the Bismarck-Henning sectional.