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The previous two meets the Mid-Prairie girls golf team had played at Blue Top Ridge hadn’t instilled a lot of confidence in the Golden Hawks.
“We’d only played here twice, once through the whole 18, and it didn’t go so well so we were really nervous,” senior Paige Slabaugh said.
But then once they had warmed up and each been through a few holes, she said things loosened up and started to go well.
They used that confidence to score 410 as a team and beat out 12 other River Valley Conference schools for the conference title.
“This has been a team of hard workers all year long and all that hard work paid off,” Tracy McArtor, girls golf coach, said. “I told the kids that the winner would most likely come down to a handful of strokes, as it seems to every year, and just to save every shot they can throughout the day as that could make all the difference in the world.”
Mid-Prairie beat second-place Wilton by six strokes.
The win came as a surprise for the Golden Hawks, who had figured on a fourth or fifth place finish by looking at previous averages for the teams.
Sophomore Georgia Nisly said that even after the team had all finished their rounds, the win came as a total surprise. She said after the score had been finalized, McArtor came over and said “let’s get a group hug.”
“We didn’t know if it was a group hug as in ‘we did really good’ or ‘okay, we’re still proud of you for doing your best,’” Nisly said.
Then he told them it was for winning a conference championship and the Golden Hawks all jumped up and celebrated the win.
The day was also special for Slabaugh and Nisly individually. Slabaugh finished her round with a 94, which tied Monticello’s Lauren Ries for the top spot in the tournament. They then went and played hole seven at Blue Top Ridge for a playoff. Ries had a near-perfect approach that put her five feet from the pin to par the hole. Slabaugh hit a six on the hole, giving Ries the win.
“I’ve watched Lauren all season and she’s just really good,” Slabaugh said. “I knew she was probably the No. 1 competitor today, so to even just tie her was a big deal and I’m proud of myself.”
Slabaugh and Nisly were named to the River Valley Conference elite team.
For Nisly, the honor is one she didn’t even know existed.
“I didn’t even know what that meant, honestly, so I’m just so happy right now to be there,” she said.
Kendra Schaefer also earned individual honors with a round of 106 to earn honorable mention All-Conference.
The Golden Hawks played their first round regional meet on Monday.
Mid-Prairie (410) — Paige Slabaugh 94, Georgia Nisly 100, Kendra Schaefer 106, Abbi Patterson 110, Abigail Statler 112, Emma Mattes 114.
Team Rankings — Mid-Prairie 410, Wilton 416, West Branch 422, Camanche 424, Monticello 426, West Liberty 427, Regina 436, Tipton 449, Durant 456, Northeast 456, North Cedar 458, Bellevue 484, Cascade 572.