High winds, rain mixed with occasional sleet and cold temperatures weren’t enough to derail Lansing Catholic’s march to a third consecutive state championship in girls golf on Wednesday.
In fact, it only gave the Cougars more of an advantage.
Junior Jacqueline Setas and seniors Danielle Crilley and Janie Fineis all finished in the top four individually at Glenbrier Golf Course, as Lansing Catholic won its Division 4 regional by 72 shots to advance to next weekend’s Division 4 state championship at Forest Akers West.
“They’re just tough, tough players. I mean it was brutal out there,” Lansing Catholic coach Mary Schafer said. “It’s because it was changing. You’d play in the rain for three holes and then it’d clear up and then you had wind on top of it. I’m really proud of the girls and the top three.”
Setas, who took CAAC White medalist honors on Oct. 4 with a two-under-par round of 68, led the group on Wednesday with an 18-hole score of 76. Crilley and Fineis finished with rounds of 78 and 84, respectively.
“It was a grind all the way through and I knew that I just had to keep my head right and not let the conditions get to me,” Crilley said.
“It was just about getting through. It was a marathon of shot after shot and when you play a lot, this kind of weather just brings out the best in those three,” Schafer said.
Mary Beth Maddalena added a round of 101 for the Cougars.
Setas’ 76 was tied with Kaitlyn Watkins of Frankenmuth for medalist honors, so the pair had to go back out for a playoff.
Setas had finished almost 90 minutes before the playoff started and recorded a par on the first playoff hole, while Watkins won medalist with a birdie.
Both players were just off the green on their second shots to the par-5 first hole, but Setas failed to get up and down for birdie while Watkins made a short putt for a four after her chip.
“She went a little left (with her drive) on that first hole, but just a great second shot and it could have gone either way. The young lady from Frankenmuth just played well and that happens in golf,” Schafer said. “I hope (Setas) remembers the good parts of it and not the disappointment.”
Lansing Catholic will be heavy favorites when the state finals begin on Oct. 19 and the Cougars admitted the stakes are high as they attempt to close out another outstanding run.
“It’s learning how to handle it, and we have had kind of a target on our back for three years and it has been hard. You expect so much from yourself and as a team you’re expected to win and I think it does put some added pressure on them and I’ve got to give them credit, because they rise to the challenge and I can’t be more proud of them for coming through,” Schafer said.
“It’s actually really important. This is really big for me,” Crilley said of her last two upcoming rounds as a member of the team. “We’ve done a lot the past three years, but I think this would really cap it off if we could finish with a third state championship.”
Williamston took fifth in the regional with a team score of 429, finishing 15 strokes behind Freeland for the third and final qualifying spot. The Hornets were led by Anna Farrell with a round of 100.
Perry finished in sixth with a 442. The Ramblers were led by Megan Baumgartner’s 100.