WELLINGTON — The defending Class 4A Girls Golf State Champions are returning to the postseason with confidence.
Led by senior Lauren Specht and junior Callie Cooper, Buhler High School is once again in the hunt for state hardware. But before Buhler can turn its attention to state, the Crusaders must get through a difficult regional on Monday in Wellington.
On Saturday afternoon, the Buhler golf team traveled to the Wellington Golf Course for a practice round to get familiar with the course.
On Sept. 14, the Crusaders participated in the Wellington Invitational at the same course, but that event was only nine holes. Saturday’s practice went well, according to Buhler head coach Brennan Torgerson.
“It’s good to go down and see the course so the girls have it fresh in their minds,” Torgerson said.
Specht is on a roll as of late, winning the individual championship in her last three invitationals. It started on Sept. 28 when Specht won the Andale Invitational with a career-best 80.
Specht continued her momentum by winning the Hutchinson Invite and the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Division III/IV Championship.
“Her confidence level is at an all-time high,” Torgerson said. “She’s managing her game really well and playing consistent.”
Cooper is also playing at a high level and is coming off a seventh-place performance at league. Cooper has been right there with Specht at the top of the leaderboard at most events.
“Her and Lauren have been our one-two punch all year,” Torgerson said. “If we can get them both playing well on Monday and at state, I like our chances of doing well. Lauren and Callie have been a good tandem for us all year.”
Three of Buhler’s five varsity golfers are seniors. In addition to Specht, Rylie Cannon and Karlee Wiggins also provide senior leadership.
Cooper, only a junior, was part of last year’s state team. Freshman Marlie Cooper is the only Crusader who isn’t an upperclassmen.
“Lauren, Rylie, and Callie have been here before, but Karlee is new to varsity. Her coming in and helping the program has been instrumental in our success,” Torgerson said. “Three of the five that we’re taking to regionals are seniors, and they’ll be looked upon to do some good things for us.”
Between Buhler, Andale, and Winfield, three of the top five teams in 4A will be at the Wellington Regional.
“When you’re the defending state champion, the next year there’s positive things about that because you know you’ve already accomplished something that most people never get a chance to do,” Torgerson said. “But you also have to understand that you do have a target on your back, and teams out there probably feel we’re one of the teams to beat again. Last year was last year and we’re a new team trying to write our own special story that may or may not be a state championship, but we’re just trying to play our best golf at the right time of the year.”
Tee time begins at 10 a.m. on Monday.