The golfers at Otis Park had every excuse to fold.
Between the pressure of performing in the postseason, a downpour that limited visibility, a rain-soaked course with standing waters on the greens and a weather delay — mental toughness proved crucial on the links.
At one point, play was stopped to squeegee problem areas.
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Brownstown Central and Seymour’s girls golf teams rose to the challenge at the Bedford North Lawrence Sectional on Saturday, guaranteeing they will play at least one more time in 2016.
Seymour placed second with 415 strokes and Brownstown Central scored 418 for third place to secure spots at next week’s Washington Regional at Country Oaks Golf Course in Montgomery.
Springs Valley placed fourth with 430 and Trinity Lutheran was fifth in the seven-team field with 391.
Bedford North Lawrence dominated the competition by posting a 347 behind back-to-back sectional champion Bailee Gilmore’s 81 (+9).
It was the Stars’ fourth straight team championship.
Senior Hannah Thompson shot 99, finishing strong with a 47 on the back nine for Seymour.
Maddie Wisler was next for SHS with 104, Bridget Marshall shot 105, Bailey Goben scored 108 and Andera Axsom carded 118.
This time around, Thompson will bring an entourage to regional.
“It means a whole bunch,” Thompson said. “These girls have been through every practice through me over the years. It has been a lot of hard work. We’re a huge support system for each other. It’s a huge comfort (not going solo). It (stinks) going by yourself. Now it’s all eyes on us.”
Owls second-year coach RaeAnn Wintin was pleased with how her team battled adversity on the day.
“I think it says a lot about our team,” Wintin said. “It means a lot of us to be able to advance as a group. The last couple of years we have sent one through, and to be able to take all of them to be able to experience it together means a lot to them.”
Brownstown Central waited patiently for Springs Valley’s scores to come in after figuring their team score.
Once they knew they made it, the team could breathe a little easier.
Junior Shelby Stuckwisch, who started playing golf in June of 2015, led the Braves with 96.
The Braves’ Emma Zabor totaled 101, Breonna Bottorff shot 110, KaCee Collins carded 111 and Regan Campbell had 124.
“I knew that it was going to be a three-team race for two spots,” Braves coach Brandon Allman said. “Hopefully we go down to Country Oaks and aren’t just happy to be there. I want us to compete and give it our best effort without being satisfied.”
After an up-and-down regular season, Stuckwisch said she was proud of how the team performed in tough conditions.
“We’ve worked hard all season to get here,” she said. “It means a lot because we struggled towards the middle of the season, and with the rain today it was hard to stay focused. We will need to play our very best next weekend, we just need to play golf like we know how.”
Seymour last made it to regional as a team in 2013 while Brownstown’s previous trip was in 2014.
While Trinity didn’t advance, first-year coach Nate Benter thought his team played well in their first and only 18-holes competition of 2016.
“For the conditions and course I thought we played pretty well,” Benter said. “The scores were just a little higher than I thought they might be. We played well on the front nine, and the back nine is very challenging. It was a lot of new experiences for a couple girls.”
Trinity Lutheran’s Morgan Gabbard was the low with 113, Demi Oakes shot 116, Macy Taylor amassed 126, Anna Benter shot 235 and Cameo Hildreth totaled 235.
Oakes and Taylor graduate from the Cougars’ program.
“It has been nice to have those returning players around,” Benter said. “I relied on them for senior leadership. They helped the new girls coming in and took the load off me.”
The top-three teams, and the top-five individuals at regional not on an advancing team, will advance to the state championship Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.