Before play started at Friday’s first round of the IHSAA Girls Golf State Finals on Friday, Center Grove coach Jim Williams addressed his team.

“What do you want out of this?” he said. “I’ve done all the talking for them the past few years, but with this group, they’re mature enough to answer.

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“And from a golf standpoint, they should have a say in it as to what they want to do here and where they want to go with it.”

Through the first nine holes, the Trojans played like a team on a championship mission. The were at the top of the leaderboard but ended the day in second place behind defending champion Evansville North at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.

Top-ranked Evansville North shot a 332. Center Grove is second with a 348, and Westfield and Zionsville (350) are tied for third.

Center Grove, a viable contender for a podium finish (top four), is looking to make a significant jump in the standings from last year’s 10th-place finish. Finishing the first round in second place positions the Trojans for a podium finish.

“This place (Prairie View) is unlike any other place we’ve played. It’s a different atmosphere,” Williams said.

“They’ve been here before and proven themselves. They just need to realize they’ve beaten some of the best and are capable of doing it again.

“Then again, everybody’s capable. But I still like our chances of doing a little bit better than last year.”

Topping the team leaderboard for Center Grove was junior Hannah Wilson, who carded a 3-over par-39 on the back nine and 42 on the front for an 81.

Junior Shelby Schier had the hot hand early, shooting a 2-over par 38 with eight pars. But she cooled off and finished with 85.

Senior Sydney Abbott carded an 89, and fellow senior Breanna Davis had a 93.

Freshman Lucy Young had a 96.

“This year we are so much more prepared to take on this course,” Abbott said. “Last year state was a goal, but we really didn’t think it was realistic. This year was a definite goal and we expected it. I just try to tell myself, it’s just another tournament even though it’s state.

“You can’t be thinking it’s the biggest, because for me that gets me more nervous. It’s a better approach to think, ‘It’s just another day of playing golf, relax and go through your regular practice routines.’”