When you come so close to achieving something you want so bad and come up short, it hurts.
Wisconsin Rapids junior golfer Makayla Thomas dealt with that feeling a year ago at the WIAA Division 1 regional when she missed out on a sectional berth by three strokes.
Thomas made sure she didn’t have to deal with that feeling again Wednesday.
Only eight golfers turned in better rounds than Thomas, who fired a round of 97 at the Stevens Point Country Club to earn one of four individual berths into Tuesday’s sectional meet at Forest Hills Golf Club.
The top four teams and top four individuals not part of those qualifying teams advanced to Tuesday’s sectional at Forest Hills Golf Club in La Crosse.
“After last year, my biggest goal was to make sectionals,” Thomas said. “This gives me a better feeling for next year and maybe I can make it to state. This gives me another goal to work toward.”
There was a little doubt whether she would have a chance to compete at regionals after a bad back forced her to miss the final CloverValley Golf League meet last week.
Holding her out was more of a precautionary move so she would be ready for Wednesday meet.
Thomas then went out and placed herself in a strong position in the race for the four individual sectional berths at the turn after putting together a front side of 47.
At that point, she just need to keep her game together and finish what she started.
“I was really nervous from the beginning, but things were going good so I could start to relax and just play,” Thomas said.
She nearly had some company at sectional. Raiders senior Myia Peters found out how Thomas felt last year.
Peters missed out on an individual sport at sectionals by two strokes after carding a round of 106.
“It’s pretty cool that Makayla will be able to represent the team at sectionals. I could tell the way she swung the clubs in practice rounds Monday and Tuesday, she was ready,” Rapids coach Randy Blom said. “Myia was really close, and that’s hard to take.”
While the Raiders missed out on qualifying as a team, fellow CloverValley Golf League members Marshfield and Stevens Point Area Senior High sent their teams to sectionals.
Marshfield shared the regional championship with Tomah with scores of 387, and missed out on the regional championship plaque on the second playoff hole.
It will mark the third straight year in the five-year history of the Tigers program they have reached the sectional level as a team.
Meanwhile, SPASH earned the first sectional appearance in school history with a fourth-place finish and a 406 total — 14 shots better than fifth-place Onalaska.
Team scores: 1. Tomah and Marshfield 387; 3. Holmen 397; 4. SPASH 406; 5. Onalaska 420; 6. Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln 425; 7. La Crosse Central/Logan 447.
Sectional qualifiers: Tomah, Marshfield, Holmen and SPASH.
Regional medalist: Danielle Ducklow, Tomah, 85.
Individual sectional qualifiers: Makayla Thomas, Wisconsin Rapids, 97; Sydney Hubbard, Onalaska, 100; Cortney Olson, 102; Brittany Thomas, La Crosse Central/Logan, 104.
Marshfield (387): Molly Field 93; Macy Fitzgerald and Jordyn Fitzgerald 95; Ana Jensen 104.
SPASH (406): Megan Roth 92; Makenzie Eckrote 104; Abbie Ter Maat and Kelley Krayecki 105; Katlyn Dalsbo 109.
Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln (425): Makayla Thomas 97; Myia Peters 106; Cierra Botcher 109; Jessica Flewellen 113; Emily Bubla 121.