High School Sports

GOLF: Athenians, Littell and Shirk advance to regional

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ATTICA — The Crawfordsville girls’ golf team will be playing in their first regional since 2010 after placing third at Harrison Hills on Saturday. Crawfordsville placed third with a 416. Senior Bailey Mittal led the way for the Athenians as she carded a 94. Evie Redding shot a 102 followed by Gwyn Redding and Sadie Walker who both ended with a 110. Carli Payne rounded out the scoring with a 127. 

Lebanon (359) and Western Boone (391) also advanced to the regional, placing first and second respectively.

“Coming into this year I wasn’t even thinking about getting past the sectional,” Crawfordsville coach Tony Thomas said. “This team has by far exceeded my expectations. Once we started to get halfway through the season, I started to think there was a chance. On any given day it could’ve been any other team.”

The Athenians just captured the county championship last Wednesday and continued to build off that momentum. 

With an9:10 tee time and the temperatures still in the upper 40’s, Mittal didn’t get off to a great start but as the senior started to make the turn, she started to find her rhythm. It started off on hole No. 9 where she saved par by sinking a 22-foot putt. 

“That was the pivotal hole for her today,” Thomas said “Once she hit that putt, things started to go her way. It was cold today and the greens played really fast, but all the girls including Bailey were able to overcome that.”  

Thomas knows the competition next week at the regional will be the best competition in the state with teams such as Carmel, Zionsville, and Brownsburg. Come next Saturday Thomas says it will be all about enjoying the moment. 

“I’ve got some things planned this week for them to just celebrate the season,” he said. “My expectation for them is to just go out there and enjoy playing, especially for our three seniors. They’ve put in four years of hard work and constant improvement and they deserve it.” 

For the first time since 2012 all three Montgomery County schools will be represented at the regional tournament as Southmont’s Macie Shirk (95) and North Montgomery’s Grace Littell (104) also advanced as individuals. The 104 for Littell was a season best.

The Chargers were one of the first teams to tee off at 8:00 in the morning. The team shot 442 as a team and placed fourth with Ella Stultz shooting 109 (season best), Morgan Swick a 113, Grace Shrader a 116, and Maggie Yeager a 121. 

“I’m actually pretty happy with the way we shot today,” Johnson said. “Those are pretty good scores for us especially when we teed off at 8 this morning. As it warmed up throughout the day the girls had to adjust the way they played with the greens moving faster as they day went on.” 

Putting continues to be the Achilles heel for the Chargers and Johnson knows that will be a big focus in the offseason.

“If we can become decent putters then we’ll see our scores drop even further. Both of our girls who shot season bests today did a great job of not wasting their shots and keeping the ball in front of them. The course plays tough today as it usually does and I’m proud of all of the girls and their efforts.” 

Johnson is especially proud of Littell’s season-best performance. 

“It was a good moment for her” he said. “I don’t think when she ended the day she thought she would get out, but she was able to post a good score early and other teams seemed to struggle like we did. For next week I just told her to soak it all in and enjoy the moment. The experience that she’s going to gain by playing against some of the best competition in the state is going to be good for her and even the team heading into next year.” 

The Mounties won’t be headed back to the regional as a team as they placed fifth with a score of 446. Along with Shirk’s 95, Taylor Grino shot a 110, Bailey Barker recorded a 118, Hanna Long a 123 and Olivia Gray rounded out the scoring with a 126. 

“We got off to a bad start today and just couldn’t recover,” coach Bill Whalen said. “I don’t think it was one thing particularly that we did bad, it was just that as a team we didn’t play well and we have to learn from it and move on.” 

For Shirk this was her first year playing varsity and she was rewarded with a regional appearance. Whalen was proud to see her hard work pay off. 

“I’m proud of her for getting out,” he said. “She had one of the better scores up there with the course playing as difficult as it did. We’ll go up there next week and have her enjoy that moment.” 

“I’m going to enjoy it a lot next week,” Shirk said of getting play at the regional. “I think it will be good to get to watch and play against great competition. I think that can inspire me to play even better heading into next year.”

Fountain Central placed ninth with a score of 500.

Nola Walls led the Mustangs with a 110, Cassadi Parks shot a 126, Emily Keeling a 133, and Aubrey Hicks a 131.

Area golfers will compete in the Roncalli regional at Smock Golf Course in Indianapolis. 

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