Monday's class one, sectional three golf championship was bittersweet for the Bulldogs. Seniors Layne Ray and Kaylee Stone and junior Abby Gooch earned all-sectional honors and booked their tickets to the MSHSAA Class One State Championship next week in Sedalia, but the team finished third, missing the goal of qualifying for the tournament by one place.
"Yesterday did not turn out the be the perfect day of golf that we were hoping to have," coach Lindsey Yancey said. "The team struggled, across the board, to make plays and recover from errors. I am proud that they never gave up, continued to fight for everything they did, but it was a hard loss for us considering what was on the line."
The Bulldogs finished behind conference rivals Moberly and Kirksville. Moberly and Mexico consistently battled in head-to-head matchups throughout the season. At the NCMC championship the Spartans beat the Bulldogs by three strokes. One week later at the district tournament, the Bulldogs prevailed.
After finishing third at the sectional championship a year ago, the Bulldogs had made improving on that finish, and qualifying for state in the process, a priority.
"After our win at the district tournament we had high hopes that we would meet our final goal of this season, to send our whole team to state," Yancey said. "As everything is wrapping up, I am still very proud that we have met all but one of our very challenging goals this season. It is certainly a bittersweet end to the season for these girls, after all the work they have put in, but our heads are held high and we are very proud of our three qualifiers."
After finishing fourth and ninth respectively, Ray and Stone will be competing at the state championship for the second time. This will be Gooch's first appearance at the tournament. She finished 14th in sectional competition.
"Abby is going for the first time, and after the many, many hours this young lady has put in to improve her golf game, I have no doubt she will represent Mexico very well and will use this opportunity to prepare for next season," Yancey said.
Despite the loss, Yancey is not disappointed with the team's performance.
"I can say with sincerity that this team is made up of some of the most amazing student athletes I've had the pleasure to work with," she said. "We have had so much fun this season and they have worked very hard, but most of all they have always played with honesty, character and good sportsmanship. I know without a doubt that they have made me a better coach."
The MSHSAA state golf championship will be held Oct. 21-22 in Sedalia.
1. Moberly 388
Page 2 of 2 - 2. Kirksville 394
3. Mexico 408
4. Brookfield 411
5. Chillicothe 426
6. Harrisburg 472
7. Marceline 494
4. Layne Ray 95 (State Qualifier)
9. Kaylee Stone 99 (State Qualifier)
14. Abby Gooch 104 (State Qualifier)
25. Abigail Hoer 110
42. Jessica Slagle 121