“If we all play the best golf we can possibly play, it would probably be New Albany, Mason and I don’t know about us and Jerome and who would be third,” Dalton said. “But golf doesn’t work that way, and we’ve got some kids that can go pretty low.”
Rodgers shoots around par almost every time out and is coming off an even-par 72 at Glenview in Cincinnati in the district tournament. The Elks shot 313, uncharacteristically high for them this season, to finish second behind Mason’s 305.
Hayes, Harker and freshman Brigid Nickell have averaged in the 70s. Junior Sanjana Reddy has been a consistent No. 5 in the low to mid-80s on most days. With three new players, the Elks have shot a school-record 288 and been under 300 a record six times. Before this season the Elks had been under 300 only four times in program history.
“We lost three seniors from last year and weirdly we’re about seven or eight strokes better,” Dalton said. “I thought we would be good, but the girls are like why are we better.”
The Elks, however, are fighting against plenty of precedent. New Albany has won three straight titles, which are the only trips they’ve made to state, and shot 294 at their district tournament. Mason is making its 11th trip and fourth straight and was a three-time champion from 2008-10.
The Elks are making their 17th trip and are looking for their second title and first since 1995. Last year at state New Albany shot 586 over 36 holes, Mason shot 627 and Centerville shot 633. But this year the Elks defeated Mason three of the nine times they met in tournaments and were 3-3 against Jerome.
Team success matters most to the Elks, but Rodgers is also a contender for the individual title. The last Elk to win that was Marissa Wenzler in 2017 with a pair of 69s. Dalton emphasizes playing for the team because it’s easier to get to state that way than it is as an individual.
“Because we all kept our scores low enough and we all battled through the day, we go as a group,” Dalton said of his team’s somewhat off day at districts. “I’ve always coached team sports, and I treat the golf team like that – everything we do we do as a team. That way if you’re having a bad day, you fight through.”
Joining the Elks at state are senior Lily Middleton of Wilmington and junior Kenna Jenkins of Greenville. Middleton shot 74 at district and Jenkins shot 75.
Boys: The only area boys representative is Bellbrook junior Andrew Magill. He shot a 72 at Beavercreek Golf Club to win the district tournament.