Macy Goehring is the lone Cowgirl senior to play varsity for CCHS at the end of the season

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Jayln Smith plays a shot on the Eagle Crest Challenge Course early in the season. All of the CCHS golf team with the exception of Macy Goehring will be back next year.Macy Goehring is going to be missed.

The Crook County senior was the lone Cowgirl qualifier for this year's state golf championships. Goehring played in the state tournament each of her four years at Crook County.

"I think that my highlight was Macy making it to state four years," Crook County head coach Sarah Crofcheck said following the season. "But my team, even though being super young and inexperienced, they missed going to state by just four or five strokes."

The Cowgirls are young. Goehring was the lone Cowgirl senior to compete at the regional tournament, while two freshmen and a sophomore also played.

"Macy was a very good leader and a teammate and helper," Crofcheck said. "You could always count on her because of her consistency."

Still, Crofcheck is optimistic about the future. With most of the team back and several players making huge strides during the season, she believes that the team can be at least as strong, maybe stronger, next year, despite losing Goehring.

"My younger kids stepped up and did what they needed to do to make our season successful," Crofcheck said. "I think that now that they know what they are capable of, they will work hard over the summer and next season, and hopefully they can move on to state."

If the Cowgirls were remaining in Class 4A, they would not only be one of the favorites to take a team to the state tournament, they would probably compete for a trophy once they got there.

However, with Crook County moving up to Class 5A next year, Crofcheck doesn't know what to expect.

Bend and Summit, who dominated Central Oregon and Class 5A, are moving up to Class 6A, leaving an opportunity for others to step in and fill the void.

Still, there are a lot of unknowns about the future.

With a new league and new teams, no one really knows how the new Intermountain Conference is going to break down.

The league will be composed of Crook County, Ridgeview, Redmond, The Dalles, Hood River Valley and Pendleton.

Of those teams, only Pendleton qualified any golfers for the state tournament. However, the Buckaroos may be a formidable foe. Pendleton placed fifth this past year and has their entire roster returning.

With Bend and Summit — who finished first and second in the 5A state tournament — out of the picture, that could leave Pendleton, Crater and Crescent Valley, who tied for third, vying for the state title.

"Who knows, with us moving into a new league with new people, what it's going to look like. Pendleton was pretty good," Crofcheck said, "but as far as I know, the rest of the league doesn't have that much, so we should still be competitive."

Crofcheck added that several other younger athletes have approached her about playing golf next year, but that it is too early to know if any of them will even play, let alone contend for varsity spots.

Still, Crofcheck believes that she has the players to make a run at the state tournament.

"I think that they want to do it, and they are excited that they could go as a team," she said. "We will just have to see how much work they are willing to put in during the off season and how much they can improve."

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