Nearing the conclusion of the Northern 4A Zone girls' golf championship on Thursday, most of remaining players and spectators gathered around the 18th green to watch the final groups of the day play the final hole at Silver Oak Golf Course.
The members of the Carson High School team weren't watching golf, though. They were at the clubhouse "scoreboard watching," waiting nervously to see whether they had qualified for the state tournament.
It wasn't until the final scores for Wooster and Reed were posted that the Senator girls could finally breathe easy with the knowledge they had taken third to qualify for state despite not playing their best golf. The Senators finished with the score of 486, 52 shots behind first-place Galena.
The other teams advancing to state were second-place Reno (463) and fourth-place Wooster (499). Reed finished in fifth with 518 and will sit home in Sparks next week.
"We feel so lucky," said Carson's Megan Mulvaney, the Senators second-lowest scorer on the day with her 94. "I know it's mean, but we were thinking '(Wooster and Reed) please come in with a high score.'"
With no player scoring in the 80s, the Senator players agreed they had dodged a bullet by qualifying for the state tournament at Black Mountain in Las Vegas. Several players said the team, ranked No. 3 entering the tournament, had taken the zone competition too lightly, assuming a trip down South next week was a foregone conclusion.
"We were asking 'What hotel are we staying at?," said Sara Liveratti, who shot a 107. "We got too cocky, we knew we had a good chance (to go to state)."
The other golfers from Carson included Cassidy Baxter, 95, Laura Borst, 97, Lissell Fitzhenry, 107, and Christie Upton, 93. Baxter's 95 on Thursday marked the first time this season she had scored in the 90s, with her usual score in the mid-80s.
Baxter said she had had a personal goal in mind when she started her round and that it may have affected her when she realized she wasn't going to accomplish it.
"I don't think it was pressure, it was shooting for a number," said Baxter in regard to her score. "I was shooting for an 80 and it didn't happen. I made too many mental mistakes, like missing putts I needed."
One golfer who came closer to her predetermined goal was Fallon's Mandy Chapell, who won the individual title with her 76. Chappell, who also won the individual title in '98 at Wolf Run, was as many as three strokes behind Galena's Chandeni Gill before taking the lead on the 13th hole after Gill shot an 8 on both the 12th and 13th holes. Amazingly, Gill would compose herself to finish with a 78, good for second place.
"I wanted to go in the low- to mid-70s," said Chappell, whose career-best round is a 73 at Rosewood. "I tend to play a lot better when I'm playing with other good girls; I hadn't played this well during the regular season."
Galena's winning team included Gill, Kristina Ely (86), Ardea Canepa (91), Courtney Ellis (103), and Keri Schlosser (86). Ely had the shot of the day with her hole-in-one at No. 11.
Douglas' Lauren Hayes (132), Lindsay Knox (108), and Kariann Zinke (121) failed to qualify for state as individuals.
Notes: Galena and Carson will have their hands full at state with Green Valley, which won the Southern Zone title on Monday and has won 102 straight dual golf meets, just 24 short of the all-time record Christine Fernandez of Green Valley was the Southern Zone individual champion, with the next two spots also being taken by Gator golfers Black Mountain will allow spectators on the course next week during the state tournament.