by Eric Oslund
History was made this season for Rogers High School when the girls golf team of Grace Alford, Isabelle Erikson, Emma Kangas, Emma McKeon, Megan Secrist, and Paetyn Levis made the state tournament for the first time as a whole.
It was a moment worthy of celebration, but unfortunately that celebration soon turned it’s ugly head. The expectation of the tournament, and the increased level of competition, seemed to get to the Royals early.
All of them seemed to be off their game the first day, shooting a team score of 368.
“It definitely plays a part,” head coach Cyndy Meyer said of the nerves of playing at state effecting the girls. “It was a whole new thing and they probably didn’t know what to expect, but they came through it OK.”
Every girl was able to rebound the second day and shoot better than their previous day, with the exception of one player who finished with the same score.
Alford shot a 97 on Day 2 to finish with a 207, Erikson shot a 90 to finish with a 184, Kangas shot an 86 to finish with a 181, Levis shot an 84 to finish with a team-low 173, and then there was Secrist.
She is one of the team’s two seniors and is one of the handful of Rogers girls golfers to ever qualify for state as an individual, before this team advanced as a whole. She knew what to expect, but the first day still seemed to get to her as she shot a 95.
It was an abnormal score for her, and she proved it the next day, shooting a team-low 81 for the second day to finish with a 176 overall.
“They were definitely more relaxed today and it made a huge difference,” the head coach explained.
The Royals now know that they will be losing Secrist and Kangas with the conclusion of the state tournament, but also realize that they have a bright future ahead of them.
They are returning four girls from this state tournament team next season, and also have a lot of talent coming up the pipeline. It’s given everyone involved confidence moving forward and the hope that a trip to state becomes the norm for the Rogers girls golf program, not just a special event that happens every once in awhile.
“That’s pretty special,” Meyer said of this group getting into state for the first time. “It’s an awesome feeling, and like I said, I hope it’s just the beginning of a legacy.”