For the Daily Journal
INDIANAPOLIS — The Roncalli girls golf regional is the toughest in the state, hands down. No reasonable person would argue that.
With seven of the top 10 teams funneling into Smock Golf Course on Saturday and only three teams making it to the state finals, margin for error was reduced to zero.
Top-ranked Westfield took home first place with a team-score of 297, led by medalist Cailyn Henderson, who blazed the course with an 8-under par 64. Carmel (315) was second and Zionsville (326) third.
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Center Grove, with three seniors its lineup, struggled throughout the day. The Trojans, looking for a chance to return Prairie View Golf Club for a third consecutive state finals, finished seventh with a team score of 343.
Meanwhile, Whiteland was 12th with a score of 367.
Center Grove senior Hannah Wilson carded an 83 to lead the Trojans.
With her playing days done, Wilson said she was proud to have been a part of Center Grove’s rich tradition of girls golf.
“I’m really proud to have played for Center Grove over the last three years,” she said. “It’s been a really good experience and I’ve played with some really amazing people.
“With the freshmen that came in this year, I think there’s a lot of potential there and I really enjoyed mentoring some of them.”
The Trojans’ two other seniors, Kirby Swails and Shelby Schier, finished with an 84 and 85, respectively. Junior Ashley Voyles had a 91 and sophomore Lucy Young a 92.
Center Grove coach Jim Williams said the team always kept a good attitude throughout the season and his players would be the first to congratulate the winners.
“The kids obviously are disappointed we aren’t going to state, which heading into the season is always the ultimate goal, but it was just one of those years where there were teams that were better than we were.
“This by far, is the toughest regional in the state,” Williams said. “The only other team that’s in the top echelon that wasn’t here was defending champion Evansville North.
“This group did an excellent job over the last few years. They were as much a part of going to the state finals (the previous two seasons) as anybody else.”
For Whiteland, sophomore Bri Harwell missed qualifying for the state finals as an individual by two shots, finishing with an 83. Senior Audrey Eckart had an 85, Allie Watson a 97, Mason Pendleton 102 and Rachel Giroud 106.
First-year Warriors coach Crystal Morse said she couldn’t have been prouder of her team.
“We all celebrated the fact that this was Audrey’s last year and she was pretty emotional about it,” Morse said. “We just kind of rallied around her since this was her last tournament. We were always an energetic bunch.
“I love this game and I try to pass that along to the girls. We’ve all had a fun season. It’s been a blast. I think we’re definitely going to have a really solid team next year.”
Roncalli had two individual regional qualifiers, but their seasons ended on Saturday as well. Annie Sullivan carded an 84 and Nicole Clifford a 97.
Sophomore Taylor Drake, the lone regional qualifier from Franklin Community High School, finished with a 107.