GRANITE CITY — There was a lot at stake for the Granite City Warriors on Wednesday at Legacy Golf Course in Granite City.
It was Senior Night and the Warriors were going for a new program benchmark in wins against the Alton Redbirds. They reached their goal, improving to 10-4 overall and 2-4 in the Southwestern Conference, and sent their seniors home with a special memory. Alton dipped to 3-12 and 0-5 with the loss.
Granite City carded a 174 to grab the league win, outdistancing AHS' 191. GCHS sophomore Megan Keel was medalist with a 40.
“It's been a fabulous season, the girls have worked hard all summer and they've worked hard throughout the season,” Granite City head coach Karen Greenwald said. “It's the dream team.”
Greenwald was stoked to see Keel garner medalist honors, too.
“That's the first time she's been the medalist,” Greenwald said. “I was hoping she would do that before the end of the season. She works hard in summer.”
Keel was stoked to be tops for the Warriors on an historic night for the program.
“I two putted the whole day so I just missed a 39, but it was still a good score,” Keel said. “Our team has come along way. We've done really well this year and I'm going to miss all our seniors. This is really exciting. We're all real happy about it and I'm sure we'll have a fun dinner to celebrate.”
Seniors Mallory O'Gara, Samantha Moerlien and McKenna Beaver were honored Wednesday by Granite City.
Keel was joined in the team scoring by Moerlien (43), Ashley Richey (44) and Mallory O'Gara (47).
The Redbirds got their scoring from: Morgan Bemis (42), Annie Maynard (48), Addison Gregory (48) and Paige Wittman (53).
It was a positive night for Alton, too. Comprised by an inexperienced lineup, the Birds shot under 200 for only the third time this season. It was their second best score of the year. The previous best was 189.
AHS head coach Carey Cappel said she's seen continual progression from the 2015 Redbirds and it's due to their diligent work ethic.
“I feel like right now we're starting to hit our peak with a lot of aspects of our game,” Cappel said. “At the beginning of the year we had a lot of fresh faces. Morgan, Katie Keller and Annie Maynard were the only ones that competed for me last year, so the other four are brand new to varsity play. We were shooting in the 210s early in the season and learning the etiquette and rules.
“I'm really happy where we're at. I could tell these girls to stand on their heads if it was going to make them better and they would do it. Their work ethic is impeccable and their attitudes are great.”
Cappel is no stranger to what hard work can do. Her group of seniors last season went from having one win as freshmen and ended up winning a sectional title and finishing 10th at the Class AA state tournament in 2014.
“And with that '14 group we didn't come in with a loaded team,” Cappel said. “Those girls worked hard and these girls, Morgan has caught the bug. She was practicing all summer and I know a couple of these girls are going to get out and play this summer in tournaments. They see we are continuing to improve and they have a very bright future.”
Now the Redbirds and Warriors will look to the SWC Tournament at the Orchards Golf Club in Belleville as a spot to gear up for the Class AA O'Fallon Regional at Tamarack Country Club which is quickly approaching.
Cappel says its one hole at a time and trying to improve consistently for AHS, while Greenwald hopes for a little more as the postseason plays out.
“If they keep playing like they are then hopefully they can advance in regionals and go to sectionals,” Greenwald said. “We had two girls who advanced last year, so I hope to get three girls out and it would be awesome if we could advance as a team, but we'll see. We've got to keep working at it. We're not done yet.”