Girls golf eight strokes from state championship


State champion senior Julia Bower gives her all on the green as she lines up a putt

Katie Whaley

After a tough two day competition, the girls golf team placed second in the state championship. They ended a great season for the team and topping the high school careers for the two seniors.
The tournament kicked off Oct. 10, and the girls came out strong. Putting up a total score of 345, the team wedged its way into third place. The two schools in front of them, St. Joseph’s Academy High School (SJA) and MICDS High School weren’t far off, just up by seven and three strokes. Though first was so close, it would be a hard battle, both physically and mentally, to get there the next day.
“Mental game is one the biggest parts in golf. Over my four years I have been able to work on staying focused on my overall goal and preventing negative thoughts and actions from catching me off guard,” senior Haley Diel said. “Having Coach Coil supporting us on every shot and constantly reciting to never give up has really taught me that no matter how hard life may get, trust in yourself and your own potential to overcome that obstacle.”
The team used that advice the next and final day of the tournament. Senior Julia Bower, who shot 76 the first day and 71 the second, tied with Claire Solovic from Seckman High School for state champion.
Additionally, sophomore Madison Duff brought her score down seven strokes from the first day and ended the two days with a combined score of 189.
“We wrote thought cards for each other to read on each hole and Haley wrote some for me and they helped [keep me focused]” Duff said. “[It helped knowing] how supportive the upperclassmen were to me. They helped me a lot with learning how to play a course and how to treat your teammates and they showed me a great example of what to be to freshman when I am older.”
In the end, RBHS placed second in state, only eight strokes behind the winner SJA.
“I think that we stuck through it. There were a lot of upset girls over two days and while we may have had some upsetting holes we didn’t allow it to dictate everything,” Head Coach Melissa Coil said. “And that we are so dedicated [to winning] that finishing second is somewhat frustrating because we were right there. But in the end SJA was just better. Barely but they were.”
Though it is heartbreaking, second is not a bad place to finish in. Last year, the team placed fourth in state, and in 2014 they placed seventh. In 2013 the team didn’t qualify for state though they had won in 2012.
“[This is] a great way to end the season. I think we all left happy. I’m happy Julia finished first, she deserved it,” sophomore Olivia Sowers said. “[I learned] how to be a good teammate and how rare it is to have such an incredible team where there is so much positive energy. The seniors give me so much inspiration on the person I want to become and how to be a true friend to those around you.”
State was Bower and Diel’s last high school round of golf ever. Both girls grew up as golfers at RBHS, and they will be missed.
“It’s really sad to see my high school career come to end because my love for the game was also created by the members of my team, who are my second family. Not being able to play with them anymore in competition has been the most emotional part,” Diel said. “It has also been hard throughout the year to think that every tradition that we do will be my last. I wouldn’t have wanted to finish my season with anyone else.”
Bower was in total agreement, saying golf taught her to deal with adversities and to use failure as a way to learn.
“The golf team was the highlight of high school for me and I love the girls and Melahn [Coil] so much. I’ve never had such a great support group outside of my family and it’s been awesome,” Bower said. “When I was a freshman I made a bunch of goals for myself golf related and life related like playing golf at Mizzou and winning state senior year and now everything is actually happening and it’s so cool. I’m sad that it’s over, but I’m extremely proud of how the past four years have gone and am excited to start the next four.”