Westfall coach Kevin Shoults believes in setting big goals, especially when his team has the work ethic to back up those lofty expectations.
“When we met for the first time on August 1, we set our goal as making the state tournament,” he said. “Some folks might say you are crazy to put those expectations on your girls from the outset, but I have a lot of confidence in the group of girls we have.
“They enjoy being around each other, they have a good time and they’re serious about working. They practice well and practice with a purpose and, honestly, that’s becoming harder to find in high school sports.”
The Mustangs turned that goal into reality on Tuesday by winning the Division II Southeast District tournament held at the Pickaway Country Club.
Westfall topped the six-school field with 356, followed in a very distant second by South Point (383).
“We talked to the girls about just being yourself and not needing anything extraordinary out there on the golf course,” Shoults said. “We shot a nice round as a team and that goes back to the work the girls put in.
“They were out here four times between sectional and district to play the course and get pretty comfortable with it. That makes a difference.”
A year after shooting 80 and finishing as district runner-up — one spot short of advancing to the state tournament — Westfall sophomore Maddi Shoults shot 34 on the front nine and 37 on the back to finish with a 71 and earn medalist honors.
“I played a decent round and made a lot of pars, but I could’ve done better on the front nine and the back nine,” the modest Shoults said. “I had a few bogeys that I wasn’t happy with, but I moved on and kept playing hard.”
Fairland senior Hanna Shrout shot 74 to finish as the district runner-up. Because Shoults was on the qualifying team for the state tournament, Shrout also earned a state tournament berth.
Senior Ella Seeley was steady, shooting 45 on both the front and back nine to finish with a round of 90.
“I had a tough first hole to start the day, but I stayed with it and was able to shoot a lot of bogeys and pars to stay on track,” Seeley said.
A year after failing to qualify for the district tournament, both Seeley and Shoults credited freshmen teammates Maddy Cook (45-50-95) and Emily Cook (48-52-100) for helping to take the team to the next level.
“They both have good personalities, once you get to know them, and we’ve become good friends,” Shoults said. “They push you to be a better player, because how hard both Emily and Maddy work.”
“Honestly, Maddy and Emily are a lot more mature as players than I was as a freshman,” Seeley said. “They’re a lot of fun to be around and they’ve helped our team reach a new level.”
Senior Elizabeth Hart (49-51) also turned in a scorecard of 100.
“I’m so happy for our senior class on the team (Hart, Seeley and Makayla Bryant), because it’s awesome to do this in our last year at Westfall,” Seeley said. “When I started playing as a freshman, I didn’t think something like this was possible.”
The Mustangs will now prepare to make their first state tournament appearance since 2012 at The Ohio State University Gray Golf course. The two-day, 36-hole tournament commences on Friday, October 11.
“To play with my teammates and friends in the state tournament, it’s something you dream about,” Shoults said. “It’s going to be fun to hang out together up there for a few days and see what we can do.”