ANGOLA — Speaking in a bottom line sort of way, third is as good as first.
DeKalb’s girls golf team can attest to that conclusion after its third-place finish in the Angola sectional at Zollner Saturday.
The top three teams, plus the top three players not on those teams, advanced to the regional next week at Noble Hawk.
Bishop Dwenger won the title with a score of 377, six strokes ahead of runner-up Leo. The Barons shot 391 to nab the final team berth by three strokes over host Angola.
The Hornets’ Teryn Stanley shot a 78, one stroke behind Dwenger’s Amy Frazier, the tournament champion. Stanley captured the first individual regional berth. Sarah Cooper of Garrett shot a 92 and Halle Taner of Fremont a 93 to take the other two individual regional spots.
The Barons got an 85 from Ally Stuckey, an 89 from Lillie Cone and a 95 from Kayla Fleming.
“What I’m most proud of is that we weren’t looking real strong at the turn, we had a rough front nine, and everybody really settled in and played better on that back nine,” DeKalb coach Trent Stuckey said.
“We were separated just by a couple of strokes, so every one of them counted. It took every one of them on that back nine to persevere and get it in the hole.”
The Barons didn’t have their best day, but were able to keep their season going.
“That’s what sectional is. You want to have a good enough day to advance and play in the regional,” Stuckey said.
“The golf course played real difficult today. We saw it with scores across the board.”
It was a close miss for Angola, but coach Stacey Parr was happy with her team.
“It was just a couple shots we left out there,” she said. “Teryn did an amazing job today, and our No. 3, Katie (Smith), struggled on the front but really turned herself around on the back (and finished at 106)."
Maddie Herman had a 94 for the Hornets.
Parr said focus helped Stanley earn her regional berth.
“She just played solid all day,” Parr said. “She just continued to play hole by hole and shot by shot. We tried to keep from thinking about her score. She did that and she did well.”
Concordia was fifth at 396, then came Fremont at 412, led by Taner, whose presence in the sectional wasn’t guaranteed during the week.
“She’s been sick all week,” Fremont coach Eric Wirick said. “She missed a couple of days of school. She’s on the edge of bronchitis, but she just fought through it.”
After Taner, the next three Eagles were freshmen and sophomores. Kenadee Porath was next for the Eagles with a 98.
“We finished sixth, right in the middle of the pack, and we think the future is bright,” Wirick said.
Cooper is Garrett’s first-ever girls golf regional qualifier after her 92. A strong back nine and help from the backing of her parents, who coach Jake Fiedler called “a lucky charm,” helped her strong finish.
“Sarah Cooper played great today. A little rough on the front nine, but she really turned it around on the back. We look forward to next week.”
The Railroaders were ninth as a team with a score of 434. Abby Weaver followed Cooper with a 97. The entire lineup will return next season.
“We’ve improved every match this year, and we’re really looking forward to next year,” Fiedler said.