For the Daily Journal
Yes, days like this do exist when everything seems to fall into place. Add a little karma to the mix, including a perfect weather day, and the finished product is a Mid-State Conference girls golf championship.
Winding River Golf Course was the setting Thursday when top-seeded and ninth-ranked Plainfield outdueled a field of seven teams including Franklin, Greenwood and Whiteland.
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With junior Kayla Benge leading the charge, the defending champion Red Pride finished with a winning team score of 328, one stroke better than runner-up Martinsville (329).
Mooresville was third with a 348, followed by Decatur Central (371), Whiteland (378), Greenwood (388) and Franklin (393).
Benge, a two-time state qualifier, earned medalist honors by carding a 2-over-par 73. Next in line with a 77 was Olivia Roberts of Mooresville.
Reflecting on Whiteland’s progress at midseason, first-year coach Crystal Morse said the team continues to pick up steam and improve its confidence.
“The first part of the season felt like riding a roller coaster,” she said. “The rains really put a damper on the progress we were making.”
Whiteland sophomore Bri Harwell scored an 88, while the team’s lone senior, Audrey Eckart shot a 90.
“We’ve struggled the last couple times out on the greens, but our short game is finally starting to come around,” said Eckart.
Meanwhile, Greenwood, with its sixth-place finish, was led by sophomore Laila Stein. The Woodmen’s No. 1 player who had an 89, while freshman Maecee Terhune carded a 92.
“We’re still a very young team,” said Greenwood coach Brittany Stephens. “But we are making improvements step by step. Our girls are setting reasonable goals that I believe they can attain before the end of the season.”
Franklin pleased coach Chris Kacarab with its round. “Our goal was to break 400,” he said, “and with only one senior in the lineup we’re still looking to put it all together.”
Junior Avery Auton led the Grizzly Cubs with a 92, while senior Kristina Young finished with a 94.