Senior trio leading JHS girls golf to state
Kyra Vogel has been putting since elementary school and loving it since middle school.
"I have played golf since I was a kid but never really started to enjoy it until seventh grade when I joined the team," Vogel, a Jamestown High School senior said. "I chose to play golf because I wanted to try something new.
"I enjoy golf because it has brought me so many friends and has shaped me into a better person. At the end of the day, golf is just a sport, and the relationships that come out of your team are far more important."
Vogel and other Blue Jay varsity golf returners had plenty of relationships to foster this season.
The Jays had 16 girls between grades 7-12 on the green this season, the most head coach Tracy Gustafson has seen in her five years of coaching. Due to the number of golfers and coronavirus practice protocols the team has had to split into two practice groups.
The physical separation did little to affect the Blue Jays' chemistry.
"This season has definitely made us stronger as a group," said Blue Jay senior Cora Wolsky. "The team has definitely improved over the years. We do a lot of team bonding so that nobody is left out and so that we can all get to know one another since we don’t all practice together."
Senior Lauryn Hibl said the Blue Jay golf program has given her the opportunity to meet and make many friends within and outside of the team at practices and at the slew of tournaments packed into the nine-week schedule.
While the Blue Jay family is forming bonds, the team hasn't lost focus on honing in on skills and shooting their best rounds.
Vogel and senior teammates Lauryn Hibl and Cora Wolsky will help lead the Blue Jays to the 2020 Class A girls state golf tournament scheduled to be held Oct. 5-6 at Souris Valley Golf Course in Minot. The Jays rounded out the top-five West Region teams at the West Regional Invite on Sept. 28.
Vogel led the Jays at the WDA tourney with a 90. Hibl was two strokes behind the team leader, while Wolsky and junior Bria Nieswaag each ended with 93. The top five golfers for the state tourney are still to be determined. Vogel and Wolsky qualified individually for the state tournament prior to the WDA Invite.
The fifth-place finish was not the Blue Jays' best this season
"The best part of this season has been our first tournament," Vogel said. "We all played super well and finished third as a team and I finished third as an individual with a 79. This season has been full of ups and downs, but overall I think we are all working hard to become the best we can be."
Vogel said she thinks the team has improved in overall attitude and mindset, a critical piece of the golf game. The senior admitted that she has encountered a bit of a slump on and off during the season but said she feels ready for the upcoming tournaments.
"I have improved as a golfer by putting in a ton of extra work on the side," Vogel said. "I am constantly trying to improve my game.
The Blue Jay leader has not been the only one working through the mental blocks.
"Golf is definitely a mental sport for me, it’s not an easy process to accomplish," Wolsky said. "It takes a lot of concentration and a lot of support from family and coaches. This sport has given me the support I didn’t know I had in the past from teammates, teachers (and) coaches."
Wolsky said she has worked on focusing on the long and short game skills and has seen an improvement in her drives which gives her a good step up off the tee box. Hibl, not to be left out, has worked on score consistency. Hibl has shot rounds between 92 and 98 in four of the Blue Jays' last seven tournaments.
Once the three seniors wrap up the 2020 state invite and graduation approaches, the Blue Jays will look to juniors Nieswaaag and Grace LeFevre to continue the leadership of the 2020 senior trio.
"The future of Blue Jay golf is very young," Vogel said. "I have some high hopes for a few girls who I think will do really well on the team. With Tracy as the coach, they will all have a blast.
"Golf is a great game that you can do until you’re 90 years old."
While the seniors have a ways to go until 90, all three said they would like to continue playing golf in some capacity after ending their Blue Jay careers. Vogel said she would love to play golf in college and has spoken to a few schools regarding the possibility of joining a team.
"Golf has given me friendships throughout the state and has shaped me into the person I am today," Vogel said. "I would be incredibly grateful to play on a college team."