After having last season cut short, the Gainesville Lady Leopards golf team is making the most of this season.
At the District 9-4A tournament at the Winstar Golf Course in Oklahoma, the Lady Leopards finished in second place to advance to the Class 4A regional tournament Wednesday, April 21, and Thursday, April 22.
At Winstar, Brittany Magallanes led the team with rounds of 111 and 106 for a total of 217. Desiree Stephens shot a 108 and 111 for a total of 219. Kim Gomez started slow with a 126 on Tuesday, but rebounded nicely with a round of 109. Ava Blaskovich shot a 241 with rounds of 116 and 125 while Vanessa Victorio shot a 127 and 124 for a total of 251.
The Lady Leopards got an opportunity to play a warmup round Wednesday, April 14, at Lake Kiowa Country Club and head coach Blake Crutsinger said it was important for them to get in more practice in preparation for the regional tournament at Van Zandt Country Club.
“This was probably one of the more difficult courses they’ve played and it was pretty chilly all day, but for them to come out and play a golf course like Lake Kiowa is pretty awesome,” Crutsinger said. “Fortunately for us, went we play Van Zandt in Canton, that course will play much easier than Lake Kiowa did today. It was a good challenge for them and hopefully we score a little bit better next week.”
The Lady Leopards have been on their practice regimen a lot the past week and Crutsinger said the team has worn itself out hitting many golf balls to get their game in order.
Ava Blaskovich is just a freshman on the team and she said she made some good strides in her practice round. As for regionals, she knows how big of an opportunity it is for the team.
“I think I played really well. I only had to pick up on one hole,” Blaskovich said. “I played well overall, even though my score may not have reflected it very much. I wanted to work on my short game the most and that was a strong part of my play today. It’s really important we made it to regionals and it’s a big accomplishment by us. I think we’ll do great.”
Vanessa Victorio is in her junior season. She made some tweaks to her setup before her round and she said those paid off as she played.
“I think there are definitely some places I could have done better at, but that will come with more practice,” Victorio said. “I think we’ll get that settled. I wanted to work on my putting and my driving. I recently learned to reposition myself before I hit and I think it definitely helped me out today. Golf doesn’t get much recognition so for us to make regionals, it was a major milestone. We have a great group of girls and we all bond together.”
Crutisinger said the team is amped up for regionals this year, especially after having its season cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic last season.
“They’re really excited to get back out there and right now, they’re kind of middle of the pack,” Crutsinger said. “Hopefully, we’ll get in the top five, which would be really nice for these girls. The only thing I can hope for is their two-day total is better than district. I just want to keep seeing their scores go down. They’ve dropped close to about 150 strokes since two years ago at regionals. My goal for them is to get under that 900 mark and if we can do that, it will show a lot of improvement.”
Reach Patrick Hayslip at email@example.com