GOTHENBURG — There’s a familiar pattern forming with North Platte girls golf this season. On Thursday, for the fourth consecutive invite, the Lady Bulldogs were victorious.
Led by individual runner-up Baylee Steele, North Platte shot a team-total of 322, besting Scottsbluff by 20 strokes to win the Gothenburg Invite at Wild Horse Golf Club. All five Bulldog varsity golfers finished in the Top 11.
"These girls are passionate about golf and have put in so much leg work and preparation in the offseason," North Platte head coach Matt Kaminski said. "They have high expectations for themselves and are reaping the benefits of their hard work."
Ogallala’s Harley Hiltibrand was the individual winner, shooting a 1-over par 73, edging North Platte’s Baylee Steele by one stroke.
"Baylee has been the face of our team the last couple of years, and is our rock," Kaminski said.
Bulldog freshman Karsen Morrison shot a 79 for fourth, Maggie Lashley an 83 for fifth, Abbie Jones an 86 for eighth and Maya Lashley an 89 for 11th.
"Karsen is a talented young gun that lets her play do the talking," Kaminski said. "Maya has probably made the biggest jump of improvement on our team. Maggie really stepped up today with an 83. Her experience as a senior has shown. Abbie Jones has been a pleasant surprise. She’s made the most of her opportunities, only playing two varsity events and medaled in both."
Wild Horse’s links-style layout and often-windy conditions create a unique playing experience, but one the Bulldogs have encountered in the past and prepared for.
"The course was in phenomenal condition," Kaminski said. "We feel we’re a strong team off the tee, and the fairways are generous here. We did a nice job of hitting a good percentage of them. If you miss greens at Wild Horse, you have to be in good positions and avoid bunkers to give yourself a good chance to get up-and-down, and we had several of those. These are top notch greens that roll so true, and it certainly helps to be below the hole."
After last season’s runner-up finish at the state meet, and this year’s impressive play, Kaminski likes where his team is between the ears, but is still leaving room for improvement.
"Golf is such a challenging game mentally. We’ve been proud of the maturity and growth that the girls have shown responding to adversity during their rounds," Kaminski said. "We constantly tell them to allow themselves to have fun and make mistakes. We always talk about controlling our attitude. For us to reach our target this season and compete with the best, we have to continue to get even tougher mentally."
1, North Platte, 322. 2, Scottsbluff, 342. 3, Ogallala, 351. 4, Broken Bow, 412. 5, Cambridge, 417. T6, Holdrege, 432. T6, Northwest, 342. 8, Valentine, 435. 9, Minden, 439. 10, Lexington, 446. 11, Cozad, 452. 12, Gothenburg, 456. 13, McCook, 475.
Individual Top 15
1, Harley Hiltibrand, Ogallala, 73. 2, Baylee Steele, North Platte, 74. 3, Emily Kryzanowski, Scottsbluff, 77. 4, Karsen Morrison, North Platte, 79. 5, Maggie Lashley, North Platte, 83. 6, Anna Kelley, Scottsbluff, 85. 7, Emily Gustafson, Holdrege, 86. 8, Abbie Jones, North Platte, 86. 9, Carson Hauschild, Scottsbluff, 86. 10, Kaylee Wauch, Ogallala, 88. 11, Maya Lashley, North Platte, 89. 12, Madison Jackson, Broken Bow, 94. 13, Lynzi Becker, Cozad, 94. 14, Halle Shaddick, Scottsbluff, 94. 15, Dani Nolde, Ogallala, 94.