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Whiteland golfer closes career with strong showing at state finals

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Whiteland Community High School senior Alexa West is used to carrying a heavy load.

A four-year starter and four-year All-Mid-State Conference and All-Johnson County selection, West as been lugging her golf bag around golf courses while most of her opponents use pull-carts.

Perhaps it’s why she successfully focuses on her game Making her second consecutive appearance at the IHSAA Girls State Golf Finals at The Legends Golf Course in Franklin, West finished tied for 17th with Columbus North senior Sydney Anderson with a two-day score of 153. She fired a career-low 18-hole round of 76 during Friday’s first round and shot a 77 during Saturday’s final round.

As a junior, West finish tied for 31st with a two-day total of 160.

Not only were 100 golfers competing against each other on the 5,697-yard course, they were battling rain showers most of the day.

But through it all, West appeared relaxed and on her game. She also was pleased to have in her foursome one of her best friends, senior Morgan Nadaline of Anderson, who finished tied for fourth overall with a 75-72—147.

Whiteland coach Kristen Welker couldn’t have been happier with the way West finished her high school career.

“She’s grown so much on and off the golf course,” Welker said. “The experience of being in the finals will last a lifetime.

“She’s been determined, hard-working, resilient, smart and receptive to coaching. It’s made my job that much easier.”

On Saturday, West had two birdies and 10 pars. As she approached the 18th tee, Welker approached her, grabbed her gently by the arm and said, “make this hole a lasting memory.”

She did just that, sinking a putt for her 10th par of the day to go along with the birdies.

West couldn’t say enough about the support she’s been given by her teammates in addition to family and friends. West’s gallery all wore custom-made T-shirts that read: “She believed she could ... so she did!”

“I just love how everyone comes out and supports me,” said West, who will is leaning toward playing golf next year at Marian University.

Meanwhile, four-time state qualifier and senior Abbey Gleixner of Roncalli tied for 19th (78-66 — 154) with Paxton DeHaven of Seymour and Morgan Clark of Yorktown.

A Greenwood resident, Gleixner will play golf for Butler University. Her older sister, Anna Gleixner, is a sophomore at Eastern Kentucky.

Bryan Hendricks, in his 20th season at Roncalli, said having Gleixner at the top of the Rebels’ lineup has been a coach’s dream.

“All these big tournaments, she’s been so consistent, going out and hitting golf balls, putting and keeping within her own space,” Hendricks said. “She wanted it so much, but maybe she was pressing a little instead of letting the game come to her.”

Carmel (604) won the team championship, followed by Penn (631) and Zionsville (639).

Senior Harley Dubsky of Valparaiso won the individual state championship with a 144 (68-76).

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