As bad as Center Grove wanted to play its best golf on the ultimate stage, it simply didn’t turn out that way.
The Trojans, making their first appearance in a girls state finals since 2015, had their moments over the weekend at Prairie View Golf Club, but were never in position to contend for their first championship.
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Perhaps the next couple of years will provide a different scenario. Seven of coach Cale Hoover’s top 10 golfers this season were either freshmen or sophomores, and four-fifths of his finals lineup returns next season.
For the time being, however, Center Grove, which tied Noblesville for eighth place with a two-day total of 698, is an extremely young team with unlimited promise.
“Last week (at semistate) we described it more as relief than excitement, and then earlier this week that certainly turned to excitement for all of us,” Hoover said. “This group has been really steady all year, so you never know how they’re going to react to it.
“We were certainly nervous (Friday), for sure, and that’s normal. We just never really found our rhythm, but today was better. I think we actually might have played even better than our scores. It’s a really young group, so to get them back out here after some adversity, I thought they showed some real grit and determination.”
Trojans sophomore Sage Parsetich shot scores of 87 and 83 over the weekend to lead her team by tying for 40th individually. She was followed by freshman Camille Short (86-88—174), senior Meg Fosnot (89-88—177), junior Lanie DeHaven (91-88—179) and freshman Abby Rich (95-86—181).
Fosnot, a four-year starter who made it here last season as an individual, placing 54th after carding a pair of 87s, was disappointed in how she played over the weekend. The flip side is being able to say she was Center Grove’s No. 1 player the season they made it back to state.
“I really wanted the team to get up here and to get to experience it, so that was my goal that I set aside for the team,” said Fosnot, the Trojans’ No. 2 player as a freshman and sophomore and the No. 1 the past two seasons. “This year, everyone’s going. I don’t want to be the only one.
“Looking back, even with the not-so-great scoring, it was definitely something where I was excited to play the course again.”
Franklin junior Ava Ray was Johnson County’s best finisher after qualifying as an individual. Ray tied for 32nd, rebounding from a first-round 88 to score an 80 on Saturday. Grizzly Cubs teammate Ellie Beavins tied for 35th (86-83—169), while Maura Guilfoy, a Greenwood junior, tied for 61st (88-89-177).
“Going into state, I was really excited, but I think the first day I underestimated how tough it would be,” said Ray, who along with postseason returnees Kalyn Dickey and Kara Heuchan gives Franklin a strong nucleus for next season. “It was just a really, really difficult course.
“It was a great atmosphere, though. Just a really cool experience. I think we’re excited for next year.”