Bellmont has their work cut out for them if they want to extend their golf season for another week.
The Squaws shot well Saturday, enough to get them out of the Norwell-hosted sectionals along with the home team and Homestead as all three squads meet up with the winners of six sectionals to determine who goes to state the following weekend.
Coach Andy Heim’s girls missed the cut last season and were seventh place two years ago marking the Squaws’ rise to pertinence this season. Going back to three years ago, Bellmont placed sixth but only Corrinne Bussel would remember that as she is the only member on this year’s squad to play for that team when she was the fifth varsity shooter.
In 2010, Bussel was fourth shooter just ahead of Rachel Klingensmith as both shot 113 that year and the Squaws missed the cut in seventh place. Last year’s stats are MIA thanks to a mix-up on the IHSAA website but both Bussel and Klingensmith improved their scores and will look to do so again at the regional level, the first time either will be playing at that level.
Even with Bussel’s off-day in the sectionals shooting a 101, Bellmont as a team shot the lights out led by Klingensmith’s 90. The supporting cast of Macy Phegley, Julia Brewer, and Hailee Hormann allowed the Squaws to move on but even if Bussel ties Rachel’s 90, the Squaws still take second by 30 strokes behind Homestead who were in a groove on Saturday with three girls shooting in the 80s.
It’ll be a tall task, but the Squaws have had a stellar season and with a sectional behind them, the sky is the limit. They will have some competition to get through, however…
Along with Norwell and Homestead, Bellmont advances with five other sets of three schools pooling in from other sectionals and it only gets tougher from here. Most notably, East Noble, the host school for Saturday’s regional, won their sectional and take with them Northwood and Elkhart Central but it’ll be the Barons that bring the most competition as EN won the sectional crown by a not-so-modest 18 strokes and defeated Bellmont in league play earlier this season.
Coming out of the Huntington North sectional, Marion topped the field by…gulp…60 strokes! Whether this is testament to how good they are or how bad the rest of the field is, Marion is surely one of the teams to watch on Saturday, while Manchester and Wabash, the other two squads to make the field from Huntington North should just enjoy the day and just be thankful to be there at all.
Another lopsided sectional came out of Penn where the host school decapitated the field by 70 strokes. Again, it could be the field, but there certainly are some good golfers from the northeastern part of the state and who knows who they lost from last season’s state runner-up team. Penn brings Mishawaka Marian and South Bend St. Joseph’s along with them from their sectional.
From the Angola sectional, Dwenger, DeKalb, and the host school advanced to East Noble this weekend but none from that field are anything to cower away from like the other juggernauts discussed above. From the Warsaw Community sectional, Warsaw came out on top along with Rochester, and Plymouth. Based on Warsaw’s score and lead, Rochester and Plymouth did not look too tough and I’m calling Warsaw’s win “home cooking” and look for them to disappear from the top of the leaderboard come Saturday.
Looking further ahead, there may be a new state team champion for a change. Hamilton Southeastern has won the last two state titles with Martinsville topping Carmel the year before. Hamilton made another appearance in ’08-’09 with a state title and were runners up to Martinsville in the two years prior to that.
Hamilton Southeastern was second in their sectional behind Noblesville and Martinsville did not make the cut as a team, although they did advance two girls individually. A new team will likely be crowned.
Bellmont will look to play spoiler on Saturday hopefully sending their team to the next level at state for the first time in school history.
Also of note individually, Katie Sharp from East Noble was state runner-up last season and shot a 65 on the round on Saturday, 15 strokes ahead of the field’s second best golfer. Sharp could single-handedly move East Noble on to the team state if her team shoots their average. If not, Sharp will surely move on herself pending a mental collapse.