By Mike Moore (photo courtesy of Lumen Christi)
Jackson — The Lumen Christi girls golf team is headed to the state finals for the third year in a row.
That right there is enough to make a nice story about a team being defined by annual consistency.
The 2016 team also punched its ticket to the Division 4 final with authority, winning a regional title for the first time since 2011.
And that makes the story even better.
But there’s something deeper, something more to appreciate with what the girls on this year’s team did, not only building on the past couple years, but asserting themselves as the top team in the regional and a sure bet to be one of the best in the state.
There’s a little known fact coach Dave Swartout spoke about Tuesday as he looked back on the regional and forward to Friday and Saturday’s final.
It was almost all for naught.
“That’s why winning a regional is so rewarding with this group,” Swartout said. “When the seniors we have now were freshmen, we had two girls. There was a good chance we were going to have to drop the program due to a lack of interest. But those girls went out and did their best to get some others to come out.”
It wasn’t always pretty, Swartout said with a laugh.
The first event of that year, the Titans shot a 570.
Keep that in mind while considering the final scores from last weekend’s regional.
Lumen took home the top spot with a score of 380.
“To improve by nearly 200 strokes since this all started, it’s pretty special,” Swartout said.
Asked to put this all in perspective, Swartout laughed again.
“It probably shouldn’t happen,” he said. “I’ve tried to figure out how we’ve gone from one point to another. But it really comes down to the hard work these girls put in. We’ve grown the program, which makes a huge difference. But I think the vast majority of this success falls on the girls who put in all those hours to get themselves better the past few years.”
Lumen’s top-five scorers at the regional event were Amanda Jors and Hillary Ziemba, each shooting a 93, while Geraldine Berkemeier hit a 94, Anna Manchester shot 100, and Rylee Dreffs had a 104.
The girls head to Forest Akers West at Michigan State University Friday.
The team finished 11th in the state last year and 14th in 2014.
“The goal is to finish in the top five this year,” Swartout said. “We think we have the capability to do that. The key is we have to have our best rounds of the year. We’re facing some really strong teams. But they have the capability to be a top-five team.”
Mike Moore is a play-by-play commentator and Sports Writer for JTV Sports. You can reach him at email@example.com. He’s also the author of ‘Love, Defined; A Dedication to the Love, Sacrifice, and Magic of Motherhood.’
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