Girls' Golf: Rams improve school record, secure second at conference tourney
By BRANDON HURLEY
A thunderstorm merely delayed the inevitable.
So did a sudden change in venue.
A perfect storm of sorts formed Wednesday as the Greene County girls’ golf team recovered from a 45-minute stoppage to capture a confidence-boosting runner-up finish at the Heart of Iowa Conference tournament in Jefferson.
A full strength team, a two-time state qualifier firing on all cylinders and a chance to host the conference tournament all played pivotal roles in the Rams’ school record-setting low round set not even four days earlier.
Senior Rachael Danielson looked poised and comfortable playing at the Jefferson Community golf course, firing an 18-hole score of 82 (Nine-over) to capture individual runner-up honors, outlasting a trio of ranked 3A golfers.
The back-to-back regional champion chose the perfect time to produce her best finish to date in conference tourney, improving on last year’s third place finish while securing her third straight all-conference honor,
Fellow Ram Ellie Madson also earned all-conference honors Wednesday thanks to a career-low 91 to finish in seventh place, giving the Rams a pair of top 10 golfers. Danielson beat out Gilbert’s ninth-ranked Katie Jenkins (3A) as well as Allie Austin (No. 19) to power Greene County to its’ best conference placing in years.
Class 3A second-ranked Gilbert captured the overall team crown with a total score of 336 aided by top-ranked Britta Snyder’s individual championship. The state-renowned golfer turned in a blistering four-under par 68, 14 shots in front of Danielson.
Greene County head coach Heath Tellen was thrilled with the Rams’ historic triumph, especially amongst a fairly competitive and difficult field.
“I am really proud of the progress we have made as a team. (That) is a great score for 18 holes and we shattered the team low we shot last week,” the coach said. “Gilbert is a state champion quality team. It was fun seeing the best golfer in the state of Iowa play at our course.”
The Rams outlasted 27th-ranked Nevada (3A), who slipped all the way to a tie for sixth place with a score of 431. PCM tallied a 392 to finish in third while South Hamilton (399) and Roland-Story (401) rounded out the top five.
Jenkins carded an 85 to finish third, individually, while Madeline Mitchell of PCM fired an 85 to place fourth. Austin turned in an 87 to finish fifth. Madson was just two strokes behind sixth-place Sabrina Reed of PCM and missed out on the top five by four strokes.
The conference tournament venue, originally scheduled for Cedar Pointe in Boone, was suddenly moved on Monday to accommodate a construction project. That news meant Jefferson Community golf course had a mere two days to prepare for the onslaught of eight high school teams.
Despite the rain delay and slightly cool temperatures, the Rams were able to rocket up the leaderboard thanks to their home course advantage.
“Special thanks to Micah and Dave Destival for helping us set up for a meet in Jefferson on such short notice,” Tellen said. “The course was in great shape.”
Greene County’s Serenity Blair provided the Rams with their third top 20 golfer, turning in a 104 to finish in 17th while Mariah Block shot a 113 to finish 34th. It was yet another well-rounded tournament by the Greene County team, who seem poised to cause a racket once regional play begins May 14.
“All the girls played well today and are excited to see what we can do in the postseason,” Tellen said.
The Rams square off in Class 2A Region 1B in Ida Grove. They’ll compete against fifth-ranked Alta-Aurelia and 16th-ranked and tournament host OA-BCIG as well as a handful of other schools for a chance to move on to district play the following week in Mapleton.