COLUMBUS — The Chadron girls golf team came into this year’s Class C state tournament hoping to record its highest placing in years.
The Cardinals took a big step toward achieving that goal Monday, as they ended the opening round in fourth place with a 394.
Chadron is in the state tournament for the fifth year in a row, and its highest finish in that span was sixth place last year.
“If we could maintain where we’re at or move up, we’d be very excited,” Chadron coach Curt Holmquist said.
The Cardinals figure to have lots of room to improve today since they ended the first 18 holes feeling somewhat disappointed about their performance, even though they’re in the top four.
Holmquist said his team was on pace after the first nine holes Monday to record a team score around 380. Instead, some Cardinals lost some steam on the back nine, causing them to lose some ground on the top three squads.
“We had a chance to be at 380 or just a tad below, but the positive thing is that we’re sitting in fourth, and that’s as good as we’ve finished in the last few years,” Holmquist said.
Chadron has a decent shot to catch Norfolk Catholic, which sits in third place, eight strokes ahead of the Cardinals.
Ogallala and Grand Island Central Catholic appear to be locked into the top two spots. Ogallala topped the field with a 365, just four strokes better than GICC.
Leading Chadron on Monday was Kelli Haynes, who shot an 87 and heads into today’s final round in fourth place.
Haynes is only one shot behind GICC’s Erin Boon and Ogallala’s Maaika Mestl, who are tied for second. GICC’s McKenna Kime, who shot an 82, leads the field and is five strokes ahead of Haynes, who placed third at state last year.
“Kelli is sitting in a spot where she could make a move and contend for the top spot,” Holmquist said. “She’s within five, and we feel that that’s very doable for her. We’ve seen her do it before, and we hope she can do it again.”
Two other Chadron golfers finished in the top 30 Monday. Kortney Hageman is tied for 25th with a 100, and Cali Crile is tied for 29th with a 101. Also for the Cardinals, Taylor Strotheide fired a 106, and Haleigh Shuck shot a 117.
Like Haynes, Bayard’s JaLee Pilkington is making a strong push for a state medal. She heads into today’s action tied for 11th with a 93.
Kimball’s Brooke Hager and Mitchell’s Emily Snyder tied for 37th with a 104 – 10 shots out of 15th place.
Bridgeport, meanwhile, is 14th in the team standings with a 456. The Bulldogs were led by Tara Harding, who tied for 53rd with a 108. Also for Bridgeport, Jada Huck shot a 109, Kimberly Mueller shot a 117, Breanne Franklin had a 122, and Cassidy Mitchell shot a 123.
Ogallala 365, GICC 369, Norfolk Catholic 386, Chadron 394, Minden 399, Valentine 404, Lincoln Lutheran 412, Gothenburg 422, Columbus Scotus 425, Boone Central 425, Omaha Brownell-Talbot 437, Doniphan-Trumbull 442, Central City 442, Bridgeport 456, Wahoo 487.
Individual Top 15
1, McKenna Kime, GICC, 82. T2, Erin Boon, GICC; Maaika Mestl, Ogallala, 86. 4, Kelli Haynes, Chadron, 87. 5, Amy Ahlers, Boone Central, 88. 6, Tessa Kapp, Ogallala, 89. 7, Michelle Renning, Valentine, 90. 8, Hannah Brown, Auburn, 91. T9, Paige Marsden, Norfolk Catholic; Katelyn Janky, Central City, 92. T11, Lexi McCoy, Norfolk Catholic; Ashton Boldt, Minden; Jane Dealey, Ogallala; JaLee Pilkington, Bayard, 93. 15, Brandi Lemek, Doniphan-Trumbull, 94.