Senior Taylor DeBoer and junior Katie Brungardt have consistently carried the Hays High golf team this fall, but their most impressive accomplishment this season might have come Monday at the Indians’ regional tournament in Goodland. The pair led the Indians to a second place finish and guaranteed the Indians a spot at Monday’s 4A State Tournament at Smoky Hill Country Club.
Colby’s Miranda Kern was the only golfer preventing DeBoer and Brungardt from finishing with the two best scores at Sugar Hills Golf Club. DeBoer won took first with a 83, while Brungardt took third at 87. Kern carded an 85.
The Indians finished with a team score of 406, 26 strokes back of the regional champion Goodland. The Cowgirls were led by Logan Perryman and Katie Hays, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Three other Goodland golfers submitted a 99 to round out the top team score.
Hays High coach Kelli Karlin figured the team would be in a fight for the final state spot.
“I thought we’d really be in that third place finish, trying to clinch that,” Karlin said. “(I’m) very impressed with the way the girls played today. They shot extremely well.”
Emily McGuire occupied the Indians’ third spot with a 113, while Emily George wrapped up the team score with a 123.
While the upperclassmen put the Indians in a position to accomplish one of their preseason goals, they also needed a pair of inexperienced freshman to step up in order to have a chance at defending their title.
“It really put a lot of pressure on my bottom two golfers and they really came through,” Karlin said.
Holcomb took the third spot with a 415, while Colby failed to qualify with a 424 in fourth place.
The Indians will have the luxury of playing the biggest tournament of the year on their home course, but the team hasn’t truly practiced at Smoky Hill as much as one might expect.
Due to inexperience, the team’s younger players spent most of the season on the driving range and practice greens, not playing full holes.
“Swings are just starting to develop and confidence is just starting to develop,” Karlin said of her younger golfer’s progress.
The Indians made weekend trips to the hilly and tree-lined Sugar Hills course to prepare for Monday’s tournament. While they won’t have to do much traveling to prepare for state, they’ve still got work to do.
“They were ready to go,” Karlin said. “Now, we gotta get ready for state.”