Given a bonus match tacked onto the end of its season, the East Jackson girls’ golf team went out on top.
Two days after missing the state-tournament cut at their April 26 area tournament, the Eagles shot a 139 Wednesday (April 28) at the rescheduled girls’ county golf championships at Double Oaks to win the county title. The event was originally slated for March 25.
“In my six years of coaching, we’ve never won the county championship,” East Jackson coach Jessie Wood said. “So, I’m really proud that they came on out and fought today. Monday was disappointing. They played well, but that’s just how it goes.”
Senior Anna Beadles and Marlee Wilkes each carded rounds in the low 40s to lead to Eagles to the season-ending victory.
Beadles, East Jackson’s team top scorer for four years, led the Eagles with a round of 42 — two strokes off the pace of low medalist Kristin Tash of Commerce — in her final high school match.
“She’s a strong leader, and she’s been the low medalist (for the team) all four years of high school,” Wood said of Beadles. “She’s really put in the time, and, so, I’m really proud of her and excited that she was able to help secure that win as a team.”
Wilkes added a 43. Quin Pham rounded out the Eagles’ scoring with a 54. Casey Ann Knight also competed and shot a 56.
East Jackson finished nine strokes ahead of defending champion Commerce, which suffered a major setback when Toledo signee Cameron Ford — the defending county champion — was forced to withdraw. Ford was struck in the head with a golf ball the previous day. She started, but did not complete, Wednesday’s round and was later diagnosed with a concussion.
Tash delivered a 40 to win low medalist honors but was the only Tiger to shoot a sub-50 round. Losing a potential low round from Ford left Commerce with a team score of 148.
Brynne Culp shot a 50, and Makenzie Martin added a 58.
Commerce, which qualified for the state tournament, will finish its season May 17-18 at the National Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee at the Class A-Public girls’ championship.
Jefferson finished third with a team score of 159, led by Shamiya Johnson’s round of 50. Others scoring were Selah Czerwonka (53) and Meredith Murrell (59). Jefferson’s area tournament is Monday (May 3) at Lane Creek.
Jackson County totaled a 161 to finish fourth. Anna Holley led the Panthers with a round of 45. Cora Pittman added a 57, and Lilly Stover finished with a 59. The Panthers’ season is over as they did not qualify for the state sectional tournament.
While East Jackson will also move on next year, Wood was thankful that the county championships provided this year’s team team one more opportunity to come together.
“They enjoy playing together,” Wood said. “They enjoy being together. They play on the weekends together. So, it was just another chance to be together and continue playing the game that they love.”