BY DEAN HOCKNEY
LAFAYETTE, Ind. - For the second consecutive season, the Western Lady Panthers are headed to the IHSAA Girls Golf State Finals as a team. One year after finishing as runners-up, the Lady Panthers finished third to secure the final automatic berth in the state finals. Playing at the IHSAA Lafayette Jefferson Girls Golf Regional at Battle Ground Golf Course, No. 12 Lake Central shot a 317 to capture team honors, followed by No. 11 Chesterton (323) and No. 13 Western (326). The Lady Panthers shaved seven strokes off its 2015 regional score on the same course.
Tipton’s Emma Kelly punched her individual ticket to the state finals by storming the field with a round of 34-37 for a low medalist score of 71. She earned one of the five individual state finals berths out of the Lafayette Regional. Kokomo freshman Kiah Parrott will join Kelly after her round of 78.
The top five scores from the regional included Kelly, Elyse Stasil of Chesterton (73), Alexis Miestowski of Lake Central (73), Minka Gill of Western (76) and Andrea Hanas of Chesterton (77). Other individuals earning state finals berths were Katrin Schmuch of Lafayette Jeff (78), Ally Ross of Harrison (78) and Nicole Howard of Munster (78).
Following Western’s third place finish in the field of 18 teams was No. 14 Lafayette Jefferson (335), No. 17 Valparaiso (337), Munster (344), Crown Point (349), Twin Lakes (352), Harrison (357) and Northwestern (365). Kokomo finished 13th with a score of 378.
Western – along with Parrott and Kelly – will play in the IHSAA Girls Golf State Finals at Prairie View Golf Course in Carmel on Sept. 30-Oct. 1. Western tees off from hole No. 10 beginning at 8:48 a.m. with Andrea Peterson. Kelly starts her state finals on hole No. 1 at 8:48 a.m. and Parrott starts on No. 10 at 10:36 a.m. The state finals is a 36-hole event.
Western: Gill (76), Victoria Gingerich (83), Trina Gill (83), Lauren Tuchscherer (84) and Peterson (98).
Northwestern: Amanda Wilson (89), Emily Martin (89), Lauren Miller (93), Allison Miller (94) and Taylor Hunt (94).
Kokomo: Parrott (78), Lucy Mavrick (84), Sydney Murphy (98), Mackenzie Smith (118) and Abigail Van Horn (128).