High scores turn into high hopes
Fort Scott High School senior Karley Stark and junior Morgan Robertson weren't exactly convinced they were going to be going to the Class 4A State Tournament even after they had finished their rounds at the Girard Class 4A Regional Monday.
Both of them had taken the most strokes to get through the day that they had in any 18-hole tournament this season. Stark's 126 was 20 strokes more than she had shot the week before at Anderson County and 12 strokes higher than a Regional score she had shot last year that didn't get her into State. Meanwhile, Robertson's 123 was 9 strokes higher than at Anderson County and 9 higher than her Regional score last year. She didn't get to go to State, either.
But the chilly, frosty conditions that greeted the Tiger golfers at Girard also affected everybody else in the field. All the scores were high and it turned out that Stark and Robertson's totals were good enough to get them to State, which will be held Monday at the Hesston Golf Course in Hesston.
"I wasn't very nervous about it because I didn't think there was a possibility that we'd get to go to State," Robertson said Thursday afternoon. "We were just kind of waiting it out and then we were told."
For both golfers this will be their first trip to a State Tournament. Both have been playing for Head Coach Karen Curran since they were freshmen.
Indeed, Regionals may have been a capsule for both players' ups and downs this season.
"Regionals was my low," Stark said. "I scored worse there than I did at Columbus but I felt awful after Columbus."
"I'm sure they were thinking, 'Man, I shot way better last year and I didn't get to go. How am I going to go this year?'" Curran said.
Robertson will tee off from hole No. 10 at 9:20 Monday with Emily Purvis of Goodland, Morgan Morrow of Topeka Hayden and Jayme Hughey of Towanda-Circle. Stark will tee off 20 minutes later from the same hole with Allie Deiter of Meriden-Jefferson West, Darian Coen of Buhler and Jordan Knitig of Goodland.
Stark seems ready to take on the challenge of playing on a course she's never seen before.
"It's kind of exciting but at the same time, it's slightly scary," Stark said. "We don't know what to expect but it's part of the excitement of golf to be in new places."
Robertson agrees but has a sound play for playing on the Hesston course.
"It's like freshman year," Robertson said. "You have to take it hole-by-hole, do one thing at a time, take one hole at a time and not get ahead of yourself."
Both golfers are also heavily involved in other activities both within and outside school. Robertson is involved in the Select Ensemble and Women's Ensemble, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Educators of America, and a leadership team at her church. Stark is on the FSHS dance team, is a member of the cast of the upcoming school musical, in both ensembles, is Senior Class president, National Honor Society president and a drum major.
"I just have to keep my priorities straight and get done what I need to get done, while still having fun doing it so I don't wear myself out," Stark says.
Neither golfer is going to proclaim that they will overcome the odds and win State. Finishing in the top 20 and earning a State medal is a goal each has a good chance to attain. For the most part, they would like to score well and have fun.
"I want to have fun but I also want to beat my personal goal and get into the low 50's, like 50, 49," Robertson says. "That'd be great."
NOTES -- Last year's State champion, Brooke LaRue of Topeka Hayden, graduated. She also won State in 2009, finished second in 2010 and fourth in 2008. Last year's runner-up, Krystie Miller of Holton, also graduated. The third-place finisher, Taryn Torgerson of Buhler is back and will tee off at 10:40 a.m. from No. 1 with the other three Regional champions: Timbrelee McNair of Girard, Maggie Koops of Ulysses, and Brittani Jensen of DeSoto. McNair was fourth in the State tourney at Topeka last year and finished 20th in 2010 at Cheney....
Eight of the 20 medalists from 2011 return. In addition to Torgerson and McNair, Emily Pennington of Kansas City-Piper (sixth last year), Koops (seventh), Taylor Hawkins of Andale (tied, 12th), Madison Krull of Spring Hill (tied, 12th), Danae Decker of Chanute (tied, 12th), and Abbie Thelen of Jefferson West (tied, 16th) are also back....
The top three finishers in the team standings -- champion Buhler, runner-up Andale and third-place Jefferson West -- all qualified their full teams again this season. Buhler won last year's tourney with a score of 394, the highest winning score in the last four seasons. Girard, Labette County and Chanute also qualified as teams for the tourney, although LCHS will only take four girls....