VERSAILLES – Alexis Jay played her best round of the year on Wednesday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Versailles girls golf team.
The sophomore shot a 92 at the Stillwater Valley Golf Course – the Tigers home course – to help lead her team to an eighth-consecutive year of qualifying for the Division II district tournament. Versailles shot a 396 in Wednesday’s sectional tournament earning the third team qualifying spot.
“I’m pretty excited to be going to districts,”Jay said. “I didn’t get to go last year because I got hurt right before the MAC tournament, so I am excited that I get to be a part of it this year.
“I wasn’t doing very good at the beginning of the season but I’ve worked on my game a lot,” she continued. “I just didn’t get stressed out. I just stayed calm, stayed confident in myself and I just kept going. Even if there was a bad shot I just put it behind me and went on.
The pace was good on the front for her No. 4 player, according to Versailles coach Niccole Keiser.
“The front was really easy for her,” Keiser said. “The pace kept up pretty good but on the back she got a little nervous because it slowed down. She kept it all together though.
“It was fun to watch her play today,” she continued. “Her smile never left her face and she never got down. Every once in a while she has two or three dreaded holes, but today those didn’t show up.”
Senior Morgan Heitkamp had the next best score for the Tigers with a 99. She knows a thing or two about playing in the postseason having been a member of the state-qualifying teams in each of the last three seasons.
“It was a really rough day, but I am definitely proud of my team for pulling it all together,” Heitkamp said. “We really worked together as a team today to qualify for districts. I have been at state the last three years with our team so we are hoping obviously to get back there again. Hopefully next week works out how we would like it too.
“One of the biggest things when it comes to postseason is it is just a different atmosphere,” she continued. “That is something that can make a lot of people really nervous so just kind of been preparing the younger girls for that aspect is something I think will really help with how they perform next week. It certainly helped with Alexis today. That was awesome. I am so proud of her.”
National Trail was the top qualifying team with Northeastern coming in as runners-up. The it was Versailles and Miami East got the fourth spot after winning a tiebreaker over Anna.
“I told them they could all do it,” Keiser said. “At the end of the season we came on really strong. I was really proud of all of them with the steps they have made through the practices we have had they put in the time for it. All that hard work in practice is working now. Our fourth man stepped up and shot really well to carry the rest of the team and get us to where we are today. We’ve said that all year if one person falls, another person picks you up so if you drop just a little bit in what you want for your game the next person is going to be playing well so don’t give up. I think that attitude is the biggest thing we’ve had this year. Just don’t give up.”
Also counting toward the Versailles team score were Morgan Barlage with a 101 and Maddie Durham with a 104.
Arcanum (431), Franklin-Monroe (458) and Tri-Village (537) also competed in the sectional tournament. Senior Lexi Unger led the Trojans with a 97, just missing out on qualifying to the district meet as an individual for the third year in row. The last individual score to advance was a 94.
Claire Haviza led Franklin-Monroe with a 103, and Andi Bietry shot 100 to lead Tri-Village.
The Division II girls district tournament will be held beginning at 9 a.m. on Oct. 3 at Pipestone Golf Course in Miamisburg.
“It gets a lot tougher next week at districts,” Keiser said. Versailles will be trying to make it four years in a row of qualifying for the state championships. “We’ve been there once already this year so we have had a practice round there in a way earlier this summer, so now that we have played a lot more rounds and had a lot more practice time I think we will do a lot better there. The streak of going to Columbus is big shoes to follow for sure, but we will see what we can do.”
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.