ANDERSON — The big stage doesn’t scare this freshman. Neither does golfing against five of the top teams in the state.
For Mt. Vernon freshman Charley True, it was just another day on the course.
In reality, it was anything but as the Marauders rookie carded a 74 Saturday during the Lapel Regional at Edgewood Golf Course to advance to the IHSAA Girls Golf State Finals for the first time in her already successful career.
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At last week’s sectional, True shot a 74 to earn medalist honors. She is the only player to advance past regional play from Hancock County.
“Today was a day filled with sadness and joy,” Mt. Vernon coach Caleb Zelencik said. “I was completely filled with joy and pride to see Charley qualify for state. She has worked tremendously hard and staged a big comeback to have the day she did.”
True posted a 40 on the front nine and a regional-low 34 on the back nine led by her powerful drives. Her ability to land closer to greens allows more manageable short-game work, not to mention putting.
The Marauders finished 13th overall with a 363. Senior Molly Yee was behind True with a 79 in her final match for Mt. Vernon. She missed the state cut by four strokes (75). Classmate Briley Wills finished third on the team in her final match with a 91.
“The sadness comes in when thinking about our two seniors,” Zelencik said of Yee and Wills. “They have had great careers, and our program will dearly miss their presence and leadership. Once she (Yee) settled into the round, she really played well. She has had a great golf career.
“Briley had a tough day, but in the end she was typical Briley … making everyone laugh and smile. I will miss her energy and enthusiasm.”
Yee has been the constant for a surging Mt. Vernon squad the past four seasons.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing for Mt. Vernon,” she said. “I didn’t think the regional was too bad just because I had played that course when we would play against Lapel. I had never played the back nine before, so it was a little different.
“Overall, I am pretty happy with how my round turned out.”
Freshmen Ava Hampton and Savannah McKemie scored rounds of 119 and 120, respectively, in their first regionals.
New Palestine, which won its second straight sectional title last week, finished eighth overall (344), missing the team state cut by 21 strokes. Cathedral (311), Columbus North (319) and Fishers (323) were the top-three teams advancing to state.
Betsy Werner of Cathedral shot the lowest round of the day (70).
The Dragons were led by Mackenzie Black’s 82, capping a fine sophomore campaign in which she won the county title. Seniors Carly Jones and Cassie Rooks fired rounds of 84 and 86, respectively.
Rooks, who won the county tournament in 2014, said the Lapel Regional was the toughest competition the team had seen all season.
“I thought we might have a chance as a team this year, getting to state once again, but I don’t think any of us really recognized how much the teams in our regional have improved in the last year,” Rooks said of the Dragons, who finished 12th overall at state in 2014.
Rooks, in four seasons, has been part of three all-county teams, four all-conference squads, two sectional championship teams and a state finalist team.
On Sunday, Rooks and head coach Gregg Greene were informed that the senior was one of 15 statewide players selected to the Academic All-State squad.
Greenfield-Central’s Makenzie Fisk was the lone Cougar to make it to Anderson and ended a solid career with an 83. She’s played in four regional tournaments and missed the cut by fewer than 10 strokes in her final attempt.
Fisk is not done playing competitive golf, though.
“I’m actually going to play at Olivet College (Michigan),” she said. “That’s where my sisters play.”
Fisk was in tune with the rest of the field, saying the back nine was tricky compared to the front.
“It was really hard today; there were a lot of Division-I players (today),” Fisk said. “I think I had a really good 12 holes. Just the back nine is a lot harder than the front. It’s tight in spots.
“I can’t be more thankful for such a great golf experience (with the Cougars). Coach (Russ) Wiley has been awesome, and I’m thankful I’ve been able to have friends on the team.”
The IHSAA state finals will take place Friday and Saturday at Prairie View Golf Course, where True happens to be a member and takes lessons.
Golfers will tee off about 8:30 a.m. each day, with all teams and individuals playing 36 holes (18 per day).
“I know Charley is excited for Prairie View,” Zelencik said. “She knows the course really well, and she will be ready for the state finals. Prairie View requires some pretty demanding shot-making, and that suits Charley’s approach. Her length will definitely be an asset for her, and her improved putting over the last few weeks could help her score well.”
2015 Lapel Girls Golf Regional
1. Betsy Werner, Cathedral – 70
2. Morgan Lewis, Fishers – 72
3. Natalia Campbell, Lapel – 73
4. Ciara McAree, Hamilton SE – 73
5. Charley True, Mt. Vernon – 74
5. Shelly Shafer, Hagerstown – 74
1. Cathedral – 311
2. Columbus North – 319
3. Fishers – 323
4. Hamilton SE – 324
5. Noblesville – 375
6. Richmond – 341
7. Franklin County – 344
8. New Palestine – 344
9. Whiteland – 345
10. Columbus East – 354
11. Yorktown – 354
12. Lawrence North – 354
13. Mt. Vernon – 363
14. Hagerstown – 365
15. Greensburg – 368
16. North Central – 372
17. Muncie Central – 404
18. Jay County – 428