The Parkway Central Colts have momentum heading into high school girls district golf competition.
The Colts won the Suburban Conference Green Pool tournament that was played at Crescent Farms Golf Club.
The Class 2 District 2 tournament will be played Monday (Oct. 7) at The Links at Dardenne.
Parkway Central coach Todd Pannett said he is ready for the postseason to begin.
“Best time of the year, for sure,” Pannett said. “Let’s get this party started.”
Teams playing in the district are Clayton, Incarnate Word Academy, Kirkwood, Ladue, McCluer North, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Parkway South, Parkway West, Pattonville, Ritenour, St. Joseph’s Academy and Westminster Christian Academy.
The top two teams in each district and the 15 players plus ties who are not on those two teams advance to the sectional.
Defending state champ St. Joseph’s is having an undefeated season and playing well. Pannett said he knows the Angels are solid.
“I think everyone is going to be battling for second place,” Pannett said. “They are three-time defending state champs and they have another loaded team. It has become the norm.
“I was very happy with their (conference tournament) scores and I still feel we have not played our best golf, meaning all five players putting together their best round. Hopefully we can come Monday for districts.”
His girls are ready for the postseason.
“We preach to the kids all year that all our matches and tournaments before the conference tournament is just a dress rehearsal,” Pannett said. “Play hard, play smart and make good decisions and that will prepare us for the important stuff. My girls are focused and ready to go.”
They are familiar with the district course.
“We play a tournament or two there every year and my current players have played it plenty of times,” Pannett said. “We had the Ladue Tournament there earlier this year and we played OK and finished tied for third but lost by the fifth golfer’s score. Shot 351 but an off day for the Colts. We will play better this time around.”
The girls know what they have to do in the district.
“Finish second (but) just play solid golf and stay away from any big numbers,” Pannett said. “My girls are pretty good decision makers and we just need to be smart and grind it out. Hopefully, they are ready and I think they are.”
Pannett is happy with how his Colts have played for the most part this season.
“(We) Started off the year playing really well and hit a lull about mid season and now I think we are back to where we were,” Pannett said.
The conference meet played at Cresent Farms Golf Club was a good spot for the tournament. It helped them to get ready for the postseason.
“I think Crescent Farms is a tough course for the girls,” Pannett said. “There are a few holes where the kids have to carry water and a few holes with water along both sides of fairways. The greens can be a bit tricky as well. It is a good test for them though.”
The squad was determined to defend its conference title.
“We lost two players from last year and felt we could replace them with two just as good,” Pannett said. “And, I think we accomplished that.”
Five Colts finished in the top 15 and four of the girls finished 3-4-5-6.
“Awesome. I think that is the first time in my 26 years coaching golf that we have placed all five in the medals,” Pannett said. “(The) Kids were very excited as well as myself. They earned it. They have all worked very hard all year and it is nice to see it pay off for them.”
Campbell Marino finished third with a 79 and her sister Amelia was fourth with an 80. Both girls are juniors.
“Campbell and her sister Amelia have been battling for the top spot all year on our team,” Pannett said. “They current carry the same stroke average and both are capable of going lower. It is a great sibling competition and they support each other like no other. Being triplet’s they have a special bond to begin with and to see how they feed off each other just makes them both better.”
The two were followed by junior Emily He at 87 and senior Ellie Yang at 94.
“Emily and Ellie have gone lower this year, but this course does not set up real well for their game,” Pannett said. “But they grinded it out and I am very happy with both of their scores.”
Junior Mary Buelter was 13th with a 99.
“(I’m) Excited for Mary. She was a JV player last year and has been a great addition to the varsity,” Pannett said. “(She’s) A young lady that has worked hard on her short game and is now seeing the benefits from it.”
Overall, the Colts won with a team score of 340. That was a whopping 28 strokes ahead of Ladue. While that’s fine, Pannett said, the team probably has to shave some strokes from that score in the postseason.
“If we want to play with the top teams we will need to go a lot lower on Monday at districts,” Pannett said. “I think we can shave another 14 to 15 strokes from our team score, but not sure that will even be enough.”
The squad marked achieving one its goals this season but did not go crazy celebrating the tourney title.
“We enjoyed it for the day, then the next day it was back to work,” Pannett said. “They have additional goals to reach and that was just the first. We talk about the process on a daily bases and winning the conference tournament is part of the process.”
This was third league title in last four years. Pannett is proud of that statistic.
“We have some good players right now. It goes in cycles,” Pannett said. “I have a strong group of juniors who have been in the program for three years now and they help teach the younger and incoming players what the expectations of our program are and work with them to make everything a success. The credit goes to my upperclassmen from year to year because they are showing the way.”