Woodburn girls rally, place fourth at state golf tourney
Despite finishing the first day of the 2019 4A/3A/2A/1A Girls Golf State Championships in the running for a top-four trophy finish at Eagle Crest Ridge Golf Course in Redmond, none of the Woodburn Bulldogs were satisfied.
The team entered the state tournament looking to bring home a trophy, and after posting scores that were below their season average on the first day, Woodburn was sitting at 398 strokes, two shots behind La Grande for the final trophy spot.
But rather than crack under the pressure, the Bulldogs instead gathered themselves after the match, took some time to practice and regain their composure.
The second day, Woodburn was the lone team in the top five to post a better score, shooting a 389 to post a two-day score of 787, slipping past La Grande (802, 396-406) to earn the trophy the team coveted entering the tournament.
"I'm really proud of our kids, and how they battled, and especially how they came back on day two and didn't crack under the pressure with a lot on the line," head coach Neil Wilhelm said. "This was every bit of a team effort. We needed everyone to score."
It was a particularly impressive turnaround for the team's leading senior, Bailey Woolley who posted an uncharacteristic score of 110 on the first day of competition.
Typically shooting in the low to mid 90s, Woolley had a disastrous start to the tournament, shooting five-over on the first hole and sat 17-over after the first five holes. Though she steadied herself with three consecutive pars, she struggled the rest of the way to finish 40th after the first 18 holes.
"Being the leader that she is, she took that to heart and instead of feeling sorry for herself, she went straight to the driving range after she finished her match," Wilhelm said. "She put in an hour and a half of work, fixed her swing and came back awesome on day two."
Woolley was a completely different golfer on the second day, posting a nine-over 45 on the front nine and finished with a 93 overall to finish in 31st place.
Her turnaround mirrored that of freshman teammate Paris Wilhelm, who likewise was not pleased with the first-day score of 90 and rallied on the second day for a score of 86 to finish 12th overall individually.
"To a person, none of our girls were particularly happy with how they played on day one," Neil Wilhelm said. "They had some pretty high expectations for our team. All of them worked on their game afterwards, either physically or put some pretty deep thought into what they needed to do."
Following Wilhelm was Haley Elsasser, who placed 27th overall, shooting a 99 on the first day and 102 on the second. Senior April Vasquez rounded out the team scoring with a 35th-place score of 207 (99-108).
The Bulldogs' final representative, junior Nina Scherbakov, placed 55th at 255 (127-128).
"I was really impressed with the competition," Neil Wilhelm said. "The competition was steep. Our division was tough. It had some really good golfers."
2019 4A/3A/2A/1A Girls Golf State Championships
May 13-14 at Eagle Crest Ridge Course in Redmond
1. St. Mary's - 638 (307-331)
2. Valley Catholic — 705 (342-363)
3. Heppner/Ione — 741 (367-374)
4. Woodburn — 787 (398-389)
5. La Grande — 802 (396-406)
6. Astoria — 828 (416-412)
7. Cascade Christian — 837 (426-411)
7. Waldport — 837 (424-413)
9. Seaside — 854 (440-414)
10. Baker/Powder Valley — 881 (442-439)
11. Sweet Home — 1001 (516-485)
12. Paris Wilhelm — 176 (90-86)
27. Haley Elsasser — 201 (99-102)
31. Bailey Woolley — 203 (110-93)
35. April Vasquez — 207 (99-108)
55. Nina Scherbakov — 255 (127-128)