For the first time since 2013, the Lafayette Lancers will be competing as a team in the Class 2 state girls golf tournament.
The Lancers punched their state ticket by winning the Sectional 2 tournament.
The two-day Class 2 state tournament begins Monday (Oct. 9) and will be played at the Sedalia Country Club.
It’s the last time four senior Lancers will play for the program. They are Paige Sanfelippo, Anika Pulumati, Alyssa Serafin and Allison Harrell.
Coach Katrina Clark is happy for them.
“Definitely, such great kids and it will be a blast no matter what happens,” Clark said. “I want them to have fun. I want them to celebrate their career at Lafayette. That’s my main focus. With that attitude they’ll probably play some great golf.”
The other Lancer at state is freshman Brooke Biermann.
Getting back to the state tournament as a team is important for the program, Clark said.
“It means so much. Lafayette hasn’t taken a girls team to state in quite a while,” Clark said. “I’m so happy to be the coach standing with this group of amazing girls.”
Lafayette won the District 3 tournament to advance to the sectional that was played at Warrenton Golf Club.
“We were feeling confident,” Clark said. “I knew if my girls had a good day we could win. “We have worked hard on our mental approach and I think they were more mentally prepared at sectionals than even districts.
“We talk a lot about playing without fear, instead trusting their game and their plan for each shot.”
The Warrenton Golf Club presented everyone with a stern challenge.
“We’ve never played it before,” Clark said. “The course was playing tough for all competitors. I figured they scores would be pretty high and they were.”
The Lancers shot a 337 to win sectional by seven strokes over Rock Bridge. The result pleased Clark.
“I was extremely happy. Rock Bridge always has a strong team,” Clark said. “They will still be tough competition at state.”
Biermann was the medalist with a 1-over 69. Biermann was the medalist in the district. It’s been a freshman season to remember for Biermann.
“She is hungry for more victories and that’s what makes her such a strong competitor,” Biermann said. “She works so hard at her game and deserves every success that comes her way.
“Brooke started off unbelievably well on a tough stretch of the golf course. She had a couple hiccups with putting in the middle of her round, but finished strong. Warrenton required perfect tee shots and a creative short game. It fit Brooke’s game well.”
Sanfelippo finished with an 85.
“She struggled, like most in the field, but finished strong to shoot a score we needed for the team,” Clark said. “Paige is always reliable to do the best she can with what she has that day. I saw her hit so many shots that ended up in bad shape, like many other girls in the field. The course really required perfection and good bounces on some holes.”
Serafin shot an 88 while Pulumati finished with a 95. Harrell added a 110.
“Alyssa had her best round of the season at the toughest course, hands down,” Clark said. “I couldn’t be more impressed with her play and her mental toughness to finish at 88. Anika and Allie didn’t have their best day but will come back stronger at state.”
Winning the sectional showed Clark her Lancers can compete and are mentally tough.
“That even with all the pressure and expectations to win, they can block that out and get the job done,” Clark said. “They’ve been told by many that they can make it to state throughout the season. I’ve tried to keep it out of their minds and have them focus on the present. I’m proud they executed every tournament so far.”
At state, the Lancers will be facing a new venue in the Sedalia Country Club. The girls will play a practice round Sunday and get familiar with the course.
Competing with Lafayette at state will be Camdenton, Carl Junction, Lee’s Summit West, MICDS, Notre Dame de Sion,
St. Joseph’s Academy, and Rock Bridge.
Picking a winner out that group is difficult, Clark said.
“I think they will be some stiff competition but in golf anything can happen,” Clark said. “We will do the best we can and see where that leaves us. I have seen (sectional) scores of St. Joe’s, MICDS, Notre Dame de Sion and all are impressive.”
Clark thinks a team score below 320 would produce a state champ.
Biermann is in the running for medalist honors based on her season, Clark said.
“I do think Brooke has a great chance,” Clark said.