COLUMBUS — Columbus High hasn't played in a state golf tournament since 2013, but the Discoverers still have a big advantage heading into next week's Class B event.
“We know the course,” senior Emily Goc said.
Each team gets a practice round ahead of the tournament, which starts Monday, but the Discoverers are getting some extra playing time this week at Quail Run Golf Course, which hosts the Class B state meet.
“We’ve played that course more than any out-of-town course,” junior Aspen Luebbe said.
After finishing as the runner-up Monday in the B-2 district tournament at Elks Country Club, the Discoverers are excited about finally getting to play at state as a team, and sleeping in their own beds the night before each round.
“It’s much easier to properly prepare yourself,” Columbus head coach Anne Robertson said of having the state tournament in town. “It’s just a lot less stress on everybody.”
A year ago, Columbus shot a 413 in the A-2 district tournament at Elks Country Club, finishing 29 strokes back of Norfolk for a team qualifying spot at state.
What a difference a year makes.
“Last year, it wasn’t meant to be,” said Goc. “This year, we gave everything we had and we made it. It means a lot.”
With four of the five golfers back from last season, the Discoverers improved their scoring average from 407 to 372. But there’s still one number left they want to reach — a team score under 360.
“If we focus on playing the course and can get below that 360 number, then we’ll see what happens,” Robertson said.
Luebbe, the only CHS golfer with state experience after finishing 10th last season in Class A, thinks it’s within reach. The team shot a 368 at Monday's district tournament.
“Team-wise, we had a pretty good score, but everyone could still knock a couple strokes off,” Luebbe said.
The junior has a simple message for her teammates on how to handle the pressure of a state tournament.
“We just have to keep our cool and treat it like it’s just another tournament, because that’s what these other teams are going to do,” she said.
While Columbus is short on experience at the state tournament, Scotus Central Catholic is just the opposite.
The Shamrocks are making their sixth straight trip as a team to the Class C state tournament after finishing as runner-up in Monday’s C-2 district tournament in Fremont. Three of the golfers — seniors Kaitlyn Enderlin, Maddie Neville and Emily Carstens — are heading to North Platte for the third consecutive year.
“They should feel right at home by now,” Scotus head coach Tanya Niedbalski said.
Including practice rounds, the trio will play their seventh, eighth and ninth rounds of golf at Lake Maloney Golf Course next week.
Fellow senior Kendra Wiese is making her second trip out west.
Only Makenzie Enderlin hasn’t played in the state tournament before, but she has her older sister to help her out, and Kaitlyn has played well there in the past.
A year ago, Kaitlyn Enderlin shot rounds of 96 and 92 to finish 23rd.
“I feel more comfortable,” Kaitlyn Enderlin said. “Last year, I beat my personal best so I know I can do it. It isn’t anything different.”
The plan was always to make the state tournament, that’s the expectation for the Shamrocks. Now that they’ve made it, the four seniors want to go out with a good performance.
“We’ve worked hard and put our time in,” Kaitlyn Enderlin said. “We just want to do our best and put up our best score of the year.”
Joining Scotus in North Platte are the Shelby-Rising City team and Boone Central/Newman Grove’s Abby Brodersen.
Brodersen has put together a decorated freshman season for the Cardinals, including winning the C-2 district title on Monday.
The Huskies, led by seniors Monica Hinkle and Rylee Branting, are making their third straight trip to North Platte as a team.
Hinkle and Branting, who both medaled in the district tournament, have been on the team all three seasons. Joining the pair are senior Kalli Kilgore and juniors Sydney Ziemba and Brenna Houdersheldt.