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Wave of fortune

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com
Fallon girls golfer Tabetha Park watches her putt during Wednesday's Northern Division I-A league match at the Fallon Golf Course. Park will compete at the state tournament on Monday and Tuesday in Elko.
Steve Puterski / sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com | LVN

They didn’t qualify as a team, but the team did qualify.

By a narrow margin, the Fallon girls golf team qualified its four players for Monday and Tuesday’s Division I-A state tournament in Elko.

Prior to Wednesday’s regular-season finale at the Fallon Golf Course, the Lady Wave had secured three players — Tabetha Park, Sarah Evans and Viviane Ugalde — for state. Hannah Evans, though, stepped up, battled through windy conditions and carded a personal- and season-best 99 to tie with Ugalde for the final state berth.

Helping matters, though, was the absence of 4-5 opponents who skipped the final tournament for the Pre-SAT tests.

The scoring, meanwhile, created confusion and the coaches placed a call to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association for a ruling, which came back to allow both players the trip to state.

“It’s unbelievable,” Fallon coach Phil Pinder said.

The quartet, though, are getting hot at the right time, evident by their best team score on Wednesday. The foursome tallied a 416 and finally beat Fernley, who shot a 419, for third place.

The Vaqueros, Lowry and league champ Elko all qualified for the team competition. The top three teams and top five individuals from non-qualifying teams earn a bid to state.

Fallon’s surge, however, is the result of hard work and the right attitude, Pinder said. The Lady Wave lost its best player, Carissa Parsons, to an arm injury before the season started.

Nevertheless, patience paid off and the foursome enters the tournament with confidence.

“They work hard and you want to peak at the right time,” Pinder said. “I think those two things were a real plus for our kids.”

Instead of Parsons carrying the torch, Park, Ugalde, Sarah Evans and Hannah Evans have risen to the top for the Fallon girls golf team.

The trio qualified for Monday and Tuesday’s Division I-A state tournament in Elko.

Fallon, though, nearly qualified its fourth player, Hannah Evans, who just missed the cut as the No. 6. Only the top five players from non-qualifying teams earn a berth in the state tournament.

“When you lose a player of Parsons’ caliber and for these kids to fight back, that’s pretty special,” Pinder said.

Sarah Evans was Fallon’s most consistent player with a 103.2 average as she never shot higher than a 109 and had a season-low 98 at the Elko tournament.

Park, meanwhile, is the Lady Wave’s No. 2 golfer with a 104.7 average. Her best round came at Fernley with a 93 and her highest score (115) came in the season-opener at Dayton.

Hannah Evans, however, rallied from one worst days on the course in Fernley (124) last week, to her best on Wednesday. Ugalde’s best round came at Lowry with a 106 and has been steady all season.

“I think that took two attitudes,” Pinder explained. “They were going to roll up their sleeves and go to work, which they did. The philosophy was we are going to outwork you, and I think that attitude paid off for these kids.”

The work has also paid off relative to the history of the program. Pinder said it’s the best team finish in league play (fourth) since he and assistant coach Sandy Vanderbeek took over 10 years ago, and the most individual qualifiers during their tenure.

“They did a better job of scoring,” Pinder said. “You have to play to the best of your abilities. Once these kids caught on to that, you started to see them go to the different levels.”