MARSHALLTOWN - A tough decision ended up paying off big time for Nevada at the Class 4A girls’ state golf meet held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Elmwood Country Club in Marshalltown.
The Cubs had benefited from great depth all season. In qualifying for state, Nevada was led by four-time qualifier Claire Ausman, three-time state participant Chloe Davis and sophomore Emma Griffin, with Kelby Rewerts, Brittny Bottorf and Madison Huynh providing quality support.
That group enabled Nevada to win a regional title and make it to state as a team for the third time in four years and for the first time in 4A. But going into state, Nevada head girls’ golf coach Mike Lawler decided to make a switch.
Lawler tabbed senior Savannah Kyle as one of the six varsity participants at state along with Ausman, Davis, Griffin, Rewerts and Bottorf. It turned out to be the right move as Kyle played the best golf of her career at state, helping the Cubs place fifth as a team after shooting a 776 over 36 holes.
“I can only play six and I have 10 really good players — all could play here,” Nevada head girls’ golf coach Mike Lawler said. “Savannah stepped up. The course suits her. She played really well here on a practice round and yesterday she just did it. We brought her back again today and she did it again.”
Kyle placed 23rd individually with a 195. She shot a 96 over 18 holes on Tuesday and nearly matched that on Wednesday with a 99.
“I just really hit the ball well and my putting was good,” Kyle said. “I finally figured it out.”
Kyle perfectly complemented Ausman and Davis, giving Nevada three consistent performers over the two days.
As she has been since her sophomore season, Ausman was again the leader for Nevada, placing fifth individually at state for the second year in a row, and in the top 10 for the third-straight season.
“She’s just been so clutch and such a performer and leader,” Lawler said. “Everything you’d ever want as a coach.”
Ausman wasn’t completely satisfied with her showing at state. She shot a 91 both days, winning a card-back with Greene County’s Rachael Danielson, Creston’s Ashton Carter and Humboldt’s Avery Terwilliger for fifth after they each scored a 182.
“I struggled both days, but it really helps that despite your struggles, I knew that the team would pull through,” Ausman said. “It wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be, but I’ll take it. For me being able to struggle two days and still finish (in the top five) is really exciting.”
Davis matched Kyle with a 195, placing 24th individually. Davis shot a 99 on Tuesday and shaved three strokes off that score Wednesday.
Griffin rebounded from an off day Tuesday to turn in one of Nevada’s counted scores Wednesday. Griffin shot a 110 on the first day and cut an impressive 11 strokes off that score Wednesday.
Bottorf was Nevada’s fourth golfer on Tuesday with a 105. She shot a 118 Wednesday to finish with a 223.
Rewerts also carded a 223. She had 18-hole rounds of 107 and 116.
Nevada ended up five strokes behind Grinnell’s fourth-place score and just nine strokes in back of Washington’s third-place effort. Lawler credited mental toughness for Nevada’s ability to place high against tough 4A competition.
“The mindset of this team and preparation this team has had all year — I’ve never had anything like it,” Lawler said. “It’s phenomenal.”
Humboldt won the 4A team championship with a 736. The Wildcats made up a three-stroke deficit against Dubuque Wahlert after the first day to beat Wahlert by nine strokes for the title.
Washington’s Sarah Nacos dominated the 4A individual competition. Nacos shot a 154 with 18-hole days of 78 and 76 to finish an impressive 23 strokes ahead of the rest of the field.
Final Class 4A team scores (36 holes): 1. Humboldt 371-365-736, 2. Dubuque Wahlert 368-377-745, 3. Washington 392-375-767, 4. Grinnell 381-390-771, 5. Nevada 391-385-776, 6. Creston 406-400-806, 7. Mount Pleasant 401-411-812, 8. Carroll 409-403-812.
Nevada (776) - Claire Ausman 91-91-182, Chloe Davis 99-96-195, Emma Griffin 110-99-209, Kelby Rewerts 107-116-223, Brittny Bottorf 105-118-223, Savannah Kyle 96-99-195.
Top 10 individual scores: 1. Sarah Nacos (W), 78-76-154; 2. Elyse Kalb (DW), 93-84-177, 3. Brooke Anderson (H), 95-82-177; 4. Bella Amador-Lacson (G) 84-95-179, 5. Claire Ausman (N); 91-91-182, 6. Rachael Danielson (Greene County); 88-94-182, 7. Ashton Carter (C), 93-89-182; 8. Avery Terwilliger (H); 93-89-182; 9. Alisha Ford (G); 94-89-183; 10. Maddie Schrack (G), 90-93-183.