By: Griffin Anderson, Bannon Moran and Annika Kirtley, Contributing Writers
The Centralia High School girls golf team has wrapped up the most successful season in the history of the program.
The team had a remarkable run that ended up with a second place finish at the district tournament and a third place finish at the state tournament which was held at the Silo Ridge Country Club in Bolivar, Missouri.
John Finlay just wrapped up his third season as head coach of the girls golf team and will prepare to start his fourth season as head coach of the boys’ golf team this spring. He is proud of how his team made history this season.
“Feels great! We have the mentality to do this every year, just this year we had the ability and drive,” said Finlay.
Finlay mentioned that there are some struggles with coaching golf. According to Finlay, one challenge is “finding an issue with a swing and making the right adjustment to make it work.”
Finlay added that his favorite memory of this season was “having a great group of ladies playing--everyday was fun. The icing on the top was that we were very competitive as well. Always looked forward to being with the team.”
ReaLee Smith, CHS senior, placed eighth individually at state, which was the second year in a row that she attended and medaled. She is excited to have been a part of such a successful program.
“It’s exciting, it’s such a big accomplishment for all the girls and being one of the seniors on the team it is so cool to see how far all the girls have come,” said Smith.
When asked about her golf career Smith said, “I have been a part of the team all four years and I joined the team because I played before high school and couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”
Smith will attend college on a golf scholarship while working on a degree in sports management at an undecided college. One of her goals is to work on a golf course or have the opportunity to coach golf.
Smith added that some of her favorite golf memories include, “medaling at state both years as an individual and this year as a team, and the suburban rides!”
Kennedy Dickerson, CHS senior, golfed both years at the state tournament. She said the team camaraderie is strong.
“When one girl has a bad day, other girls are able to step up and fill a big position. We get along well and encourage each other along the way,” said Dickerson.
Dickerson significantly improved her golf skills over her four years with the program.
“I disliked cross country in middle school, so I decided to switch it up and play golf. The first time I swung a golf club was the first day of practice freshman year,” said Dickerson.
There are certain parts of high school golf that Dickerson will miss.
“I will miss the team aspect of CHS golf the most. We all grew very close to one another during the course of the season. From the suburban rides, practices, the coaches, dad jokes, and eating at the chinese buffets,” said Dickerson.
Tess Stephens, CHS sophomore, went to the state tournament for the first time. She started playing golf as a freshman.
“Well, I’m not the most athletic individual so golf was kind of my last option. I’m very glad that I joined though. It’s by far my best sport I’ve played,” said Stephens.
She shared some of her favorite parts of being on the golf team.
“My favorite part would be the crowd. I love all the girls and the coaches. I couldn’t have asked for a better team,” said Stephens.
Bailey Pace, CHS sophomore, is excited to be a part of the program. This was her first year at the state tournament.
“I feel so proud of us and I’m so excited for the next years to come,” said Pace.
Her biggest challenge this season occurred at the state tournament.
“On my first hole, I hurt my back and had to play with it,” said Pace.
The team had a great season, and our school is excited for the 2022-2023 girls golf season.