For eight of the 10 traveling golfers, Saturday will serve as their first time playing in a regional.
While nearly all of the girls from Brownstown Central and Seymour teams have never advanced this far in the postseason, both teams bring confidence into the tournament.
On Saturday, the Braves and Owls will face what might be the toughest regional in the state at Country Oaks in Montgomery.
Both teams have gone about their usual business this week in preparation.
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“We’re all still really excited,” Seymour coach RaeAnn Wintin said. “Practices have felt very normal. They’re a very laid-back, happy-go-lucky fun bunch. It’s a good group of girls.”
Braves coach Brandon Allman said, “We’re focusing on a lot of the same things we’ve focused on all year. We’re trying to simulate some of the holes (at Hickory Hills) to be ready. We’re trying to get more rest this week.”
The teams practiced at the far-away course once each, on Thursday and Friday, in preparation for the tournament.
Seymour senior Hannah Thompson, playing at No. 1, returns to regional after making an individual appearance last season.
Thompson said it’s a huge relief to have a team traveling with her this time around. She shot the low at sectional for Seymour with a 99.
“We’re all hyping each other up and getting excited,” Thompson said. “It’s a great experience to have before graduating. I want us to shoot around 377.”
Wintin said she expects Thompson’s numbers to drop with less pressure on her.
“I think it’s big, it’s so much more fun to play with a group than playing by yourself,” Wintin said. “As a coach, I followed Hannah last year the entire day — something I hadn’t done before. I think it will be less pressure on her.”
Juniors Andera Axsom and Bailey Goben, sophomore Madeline Wisler and freshman Bridget Marshall will join Thompson on the links.
“Playing with my team is just a lot of fun,” Wisler said. “I think that trying to stay relaxed has really helped. Everyone seems to be staying pretty confident when playing.”
For Brownstown, senior Breonna Bottorff went with the team in 2013 to Country Oaks.
“I’m excited to be able to go again,” Bottorff said. ” I’m looking forward to going out and having fun. We’ve been working really hard, and I think everyone is excited and ready to experience it.”
Joining Bottorff are juniors Emma Zabor, Shelby Stuckwisch, Regan Campbell and sophomore KaCee Collins.
Stuckwisch led the Braves at sectional with 96.
The women’s tees play much shorter than the men’s, but both teams are preparing for dealing with a handful of water hazards.
“It’s a little different than what I’m used to when bringing the boys,” Allman said. ” If the wind is howling, it plays very difficult because it’s an open golf course with few trees.”
Last week at the sectional hosted by Otis Park in Bedford, Seymour placed second with 415 strokes and Brownstown finished third at 418 in miserable conditions.
Those scores will unlikely follow the Braves and Owls out of Montgomery.
“I just went into sectionals thinking of it as another tournament,” Zabor said. “I’m just trying to do the same thing for regional. It’s a privilege to be able to go. We just need to all play at our best and lower our scores.”
With clear skies in the forecast, both teams hope to shoot in the 380 range.
Brownstown will tee off at 8:30 a.m. while Seymour starts its 18-hole round at 9:20 a.m.