HAYS — Hoisington’s girls were on target to earn a runner-up Class 3A state golf trophy when things got a little crazy at dusk at Smoky Hill Country Club. They handled shifting winds and the pressure of a state tournament like veterans.
The Cardinals posted a score of 406, which appeared to be good enough for a 3A runner-up trophy. Cardinal Maleigha Schmidt (95) tied for seventh with Caelyn Cook of Stanton County. Syracuse (394) captured the 3A team title and Shannen Chin of Hays-Thomas More Prep (76) earned medalist honors.
• Johnson-Stanton County posted a 324 total for three players with Rylie Cook needing an 81 to edge the Cardinals. Cook posted an 81 for a 405 team total.
• Third-place was at stake with Goodland posting a 446 score with one player left. The Cowgirls needed an 88 by Kerrigan Rudolph to force a tiebreaker with the Cardinals. Rudolph posted an 88 and the Cowgirls won the sixth player tiebreaker over the Cardinals 129 to 131.
Hoisington coach Bruce Cooper was concerned that it would be tight for a team trophy, and his intuition proved accurate.
His Cardinals were visibly upset about performing so well and coming up one stroke shy of a state trophy. The Cardinals averaged a 193.5 score for nine holes, a school record. The Cardinals shot 405 when they played at Smoky Hill during the season.
“The girls played well. These girls played really well all year,” Cooper said. “We won eight tournaments and this is the lowest nine-hole average we’ve ever recorded. To have that kind of average and not win a state trophy it disappointing. That shows how girls golf has improved over the years.”
Smoky Hill Country Club features sloping greens, water hazards and out-of-bounds on several holes. Cooper said the biggest factor was the size and slope of the greens on a sun-kissed 75-degree day accompanied by southerly winds that peaked at 25 mph.
“It’s a tough course to play,” Cooper said. “We’re not used to playing on big greens with undulations. We’re used to smaller and flatter greens. It’s a definite challenge.”
Schmidt invested summertime hours with her father Daniel Schmidt to improve her game. She progressed from a junior varsity player averaging in the 120s to the Cardinals’ best player.
“Maleigha is a hard worker and I credit her dad for spending time with her,” Cooper said. “She wanted to play varsity golf for Hoisington High.”
Schmidt said she was overjoyed with how well she played. Her 95 beat her previous score of 97 at Smoky Hill and was her lowest 18-hole score. She played a solid tee-to-green game and kept her mistakes to a minimum.
“I really played well overall,” she said. “There were a couple of shots I would’ve liked to have back, but I did what I could to save myself and get my round going again.”
Winds grew stronger as the day progressed, but Schmidt said she was happy with the weather.
“It got windy, but I settled down and got used to it. It was a pretty good day to play golf,” she said. “On a day like today, there’s a little more pressure.”
Schmidt’s 18th hole summed up how close the Cardinals were to placing runner-up. She struck a perfect tee shot on the par 3, 18th hole. Schmidt faced a 20-foot birdie putt on her final hole, but she three-putted for a bogey on the fast green.
Hoisington’s Hadleigh Gardner placed 21st (103) and teammates Trinity Dolezal (104) and Jaci Schemmer (104) tied for 22nd. Hoisington’s Addison Smith (128) and Liza Ward (131) were involved in the Cardinals’ tiebreaker.
3-2-1A STATE GOLF
SMOKY HILL COUNTRY CLUB
TEAM SCORES — 1—Syracuse 393; 2—Johnson-Stanton County 405; 3—Goodland 406; 3—Hoisington 406; 5—Caney Valley 409; 6—Hays-TMP 421; 7—Cheney 463; 8—Eureka, 491; 9—Rossville, 504; 10—Council Grove, 515; 11—Silver Lake, 521; 12—Pomona-West Franklin, 592
TOP 20 — 1-Hsiang Chin, TMP, 76; 2-Rylie Cook, Stanton County, 81; 3-Kerrigan Rudolph, Goodland, 88; 4—Winnie Shaw, Wichita Independent, 90; 5—Riley Baker, Syracuse, 94; 5—Paige Barnes, Syracuse, 94; 7-Caelyn Cook, Stanton Co., 95; 7—Maleigha Schmidt, Hoisington, 95; 9—Kendra Gardner, Caney Valley, 96; 9—Faith Hedges, Lawrence-Bishop Seabury Academy, 96; 9—Camryn Watkins, Kingman, 96; 12—Kate Plunkett, Syracuse, 97; 13—Colby Perryman, Goodland, 98; 13-Bailey Price, Caney Valley, 98; 13—Rylee Waller, Medicine Lodge, 98; 16—Brielle Bange, Colby, 99; 17—Samantha Beykirch, St. Mary’s-Colgan, 100; 17—Riley Harris, Lakin, 100; 17—Jennifer Torey, Eureka, 100; 20—Natalie Oren, Colby, 101
HOISINGTON RESULTS — 7—Maleigha Schmidt, 95; 21—Hadleigh Gardner, 103; 22—Trinity Dolezal, 104; 22—Jaci Schremmer, 104; 57— Addison Smith, 128; 63—Liza Ward, 131