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September 16, 2012

Terre Haute South caps 'surprise' season with sectional crown

BRAZIL — “I like surprises when they’re like that,” Cara Stuckey said Saturday afternoon at Forest Park.

The Terre Haute South High School girls golf coach wasn’t necessarily talking about her team’s sectional championship, which the Braves had achieved in decisive fashion moments earlier, but the fact the season had played out in a manner to make that championship not much of a surprise at all.

Three seniors — on of them an eventual state finalist — had graduated from the South team that was sectional runner-up a year ago, and Stuckey admitted she was skeptical about this year’s team. But the 2012 Braves not only won the sectional, they bettered by 20 strokes the score last year’s team had achieved on the same course.

“We knew South was going to play well,” said coach Bob Treash of runner-up Northview. “[Terre Haute] North and South are well coached — and they’re never really down.”

“If you told me at the beginning of the season that we’d have a chance to win the sectional, I probably wouldn’t have believed you,” she said Saturday. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

One of the two returning South veterans, Alexandra Pickens, flirted with par all day — she was 2-under after an eagle on the 12th hole — and took medalist honors  with a 74. One of the South newcomers, Taylor Monroe, flirted with par for nine holes before finishing with an 86 that tied freshman Ali Danielson for South’s second-best score.

Host Northview shot 361, counting four scores 93 or better, while Anna Potter and Nicole Anderson finished second and third individually with scores of 83 and 85 to lift North comfortably into third place at 375. Those three teams plus South Putnam’s Caitlyn and Kyndra Boyce and Rockville’s Micha Moore — all of whom shot 93 — advance to regional play next Saturday at Smock Golf Course south of Indianapolis.

“We had a good day,” noted Treash, whose team was led by sophomore Keirsten Mikesell with an 86. I thought we might do a little better [than 361], but I’m very satisfied with it.”

Treash was particularly pleased with newcomer Makenzie Brown, who overcame first-sectional nerves to shoot a 93. “The kids have worked hard all season,” he pointed out.

North’s score “was about what I would expect,” noted coach Abe Nasser of the Patriots, who was waiting for a back-nine challenge from eventual fourth-place finisher South Putnam that never materialized. “If that’s good enough to get out, great. If not, we’ll get Anna and Nicole out.”

Nasser was happy to see Pickens earn medalist honors.

“Alex works so hard in the summer, I’m glad for her,” the coach added. “It’s what you want all your kids to do.”

“I couldn’t be happier for her,” Stuckey agreed. “Coming from her freshman year, when she was shooting in the 60s … it shows a lot of hard work pays off. And she’s probably happier with our team win than with her individual win.”

“I shot 35 on the front, which was my best … anywhere,” Pickens said. “And I’ve never [gotten an eagle in competition] before, so this was a whole round of new things.”

Speaking of her 120-yard second shot on the par-4 12th hole, Pickens said, “I knew it was headed in that direction [toward the hole] and I was hoping it didn’t go over … it kept rolling, and then it disappeared.”

Monroe was a second Brave to shoot her best nine holes of the season on the front Saturday, giving the Braves a 13-shot advantage at the turn.

“It was the best I shot all year, and I was just glad I could contribute to my team more,” the junior said.

“Last week [Monroe] played good on the front [in an 18-hole match], and I talked to her about handling success,” Stuckey said. “She definitely stepped up with a score we needed.”

“We’ve all been working really hard,” Monroe added in explaining her team’s improvement throughout the season. “I’ve slowed myself down more, and I have more confidence in myself and my swing.”

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