The Dodge City High School girls golf team finished No. 12 at the state tournament Monday.
The Red Demons brought six players to the event. Three of them were seniors making their last appearances in Red Demons golf uniforms.
One of them was Chesney Moore, the team’s best scorer in the tournament, who played well while shooting an 89. Her performance earned her an individual medal.
“I feel really good,” Moore said. “I’m really proud of myself. It’s the best I’ve shot all season and just because it’s our home-course I felt like I kinda needed to do something good.”
The team had hosted an invitational back in September. Though this was the state tournament, with players from 6A schools across the state completing, Moore said it didn’t make a difference because one of the players she was grouped with was someone she had played with before.
“So it just felt like another tournament,” Moore said. “The pressure was there but there wasn’t really any at the all at the same time.”
Moore said her favorite part of her experience on the Red Demons golf team was the teammates she met.
“I’m very sad it’s over,” Moore said.
Another of those teammates was senior Madelyn Wright, who shot a 122 Monday. She said she was initially nervous Monday.
“I was really scared coming in and I was really nervous,” Wright said. “But once I got up there and I hit my first shot it was really good.”
From there, Wright said she picked up some momentum.
“As the day went on it got really good and better,” Wright said. “I feel like I ended the day really strong.”
The tournament was held at Mariah Hills Golf Course and was conducted by Dodge City High School faculty, staff and students.
One of the challenges of Mariah Hills which seemed to affect many of the players was the difficulty of the greens.
“I feel like because they were wet (putting) was kind of hard because you couldn’t read them very well, and I felt like I struggled with that too,” Wright said.
Player in Monday’s event came either as individuals or as teams. The Red Demons made it in as a team, something Wright said she was happy for.
“It was awesome that we all made it as a team to come to state home-course,” Wright said. “I thought it was really great that we all ended on a good note on our home-course.”
Senior Nicole Hall shot a 118 in Monday’s tournament. The day didn’t start easy for Hall. Like all the Red Demons, she started play on the back-nine, beginning her day with hole 10. After navigating 10, she tee’d off on hole 11 and ran into trouble.
“I was really nervous,” Hall said. “My first hole, I was actually surprised how well I did, and then my second hole when I tee’d off things actually started going downhill for me. I didn’t do very good, I could have done a lot better.”
On the back-nine, however, Hall said things started looking up a bit.
“Toward my last-nine I started picking it up and I started getting more positive about things,” Hall said. “I feel good about my ending score. Our course is actually pretty hard compared to others that we play. Our greens are unpredictable so you really don’t know what’s gonna happen. I’m just really proud of my team and how we did.”
Red Demons head coach Jim Mapel said he was really proud of the team.
“We shot a better score than we did when we played here on our invitational, and it was more difficult conditions and obviously a little bit more pressure because it was the state tournament,” Mapel said. “We’ve made some big strides in the last two or three weeks and just to get a chance to compete in state as a team; it’s a special thing. It’s nice to take individuals, but when the whole team’s there it’s just a much better experience for everyone involved.”
Mapel praised Moore for her success in Monday’s event.
“Chesney had a great, great round,” Mapel said. “Shoots her best round ever, gets a top-20 medal in state, which that’s a tremendous (accomplishment).”
Moore, he said, came out during her sophomore year, rising through the ranks to play in now play varsity and get her medal.
“That’s just fantastic,” Mapel said.
Not all of the team’s seniors competed in the state tournament, with Taylor Starnes missing the event. Moore wasn’t the only senior Mapel praised.
“Maddie Wright came out last year and also made tremendous strides and then Taylor Starnes didn’t make the last couple of tournaments but she was a great contributor to the team,” Mapel said. “And Nicole Hall: I can’t say enough about her, starting golfing the third-week in August and her great showing last-week at Regional and she had a great showing today.”
The team almost brought three non-seniors to state and they played well also. Junior Breanna Galindo shot a 114, while junior Olivia Gregg shot a 113. The team also brought a sophomore in Ella Friess, who shot a 118.
Mapel said the team talked in their last meeting about how much the experience Monday would make a difference going forward for those younger players.
“Coach Clark said ‘You know, playing and competing in the state tournament, now you know what it’s like’,” Mapel said. “Just to come out and play in this and have some success and see the other players and how they handled it, it’s invaluable experience. You can’t put a price on it, and that’s why it was nice to get the entire team here.”