BAYARD — The Kimball girls weren’t happy with their season-opening performance Tuesday in the Sidney Invite.
The Longhorns, though, sure felt a lot better Thursday, when they outlasted Bridgeport for the Western Trails Conference Tournament championship.
Spearheaded by Brooke Hager’s first-place finish, Kimball finished the tournament with a 461 – one stroke ahead of the Bulldogs.
“I was very happy for them,” Kimball first-year coach Nora Robinson said. “It’s exciting to win a meet like that, and I think it gives them confidence, too. A lot of times they tend to get worried if they have one bad hole or a bad round of nine, and this kind of shows them that you need to keep playing the game until the very end. Every stroke counts.”
Scoring from Thursday’s meet also determined the places for the Bayard Invite. Kimball won that competition, too, over Bridgeport. Perkins County took third with a 504, and the Scottsbluff JV followed with a 505.
Robinson said she was pleased with the improvement her players made from Tuesday’s Sidney Invite to Thursday’s tournament. On Tuesday, Kimball placed sixth with a 463.
Robinson said she knew her team was capable of stepping up in the WTC meet.
“I knew they had it in them,” she said. “I just told them to stay relaxed, go out and have fun, and play their game. That’s what they did.”
Robinson said her players seemed to make big strides with their short games.
“We’re trying to concentrate a lot on that, and that did improve for them today,” she said.
Leading Kimball was Hager, a senior who carded a 91. She was four strokes ahead of the second-place finisher, Emily Snyder of Mitchell. Robinson said Hager played especially well on the back nine.
Also coming up big for Kimball were fellow seniors Brianna Jones and Hannah Walker, who both placed in the top 10. Jones took third place, and Walker was 10th.
“All three seniors placed in the conference tournament, so that’s very exciting for them,” Robinson said. “I was very happy with how they competed. They’re good leaders.”
Bridgeport’s runner-up finish was led by Kim Mueller, who grabbed fourth place with a 109. Right behind her in fifth place was her teammate Breanne Franklin, who carded a 111.
Rounding out the rest of the top 10 were Bayard’s Tessa Douglas in sixth place, Bridgeport’s Cassidy Mitchell in seventh place, Bayard’s Maggie Brunmeier in eighth place, Gordon-Rushville’s Tessa Hardin in ninth place, and Kimball’s Walker in 10th place.
Kimball will look to improve on its score again Tuesday when it competes in the Kimball Invite. The invite begins at 9 a.m.
“We’ll just keep working hard and trying to lower our scores every tournament,” Robinson said.
Kimball 461, Bridgeport 462.
1, Brooke Hager, Kimball, 91. 2, Emily Snyder, Mitchell, 95. 3, Brianna Jones, Kimball, 106. 4, Kim Mueller, Bridgeport, 109. 5, Breanne Franklin, Bridgeport, 111. 6, Tessa Douglas, Bayard, 115. 7, Cassidy Mitchell, Bridgeport, 115. 8, Maggie Brunmeier, Bayard, 119. 9, Tessa Hardin, Gordon-Rushville, 122. 10, Hannah Walker, Kimball, 124.
Kimball 461, Bridgeport 462, Perkins County 504, Scottsbluff JV 505.
1, Brooke Hager, Kimball, 91. 2, Emily Snyder, Mitchell, 95. 3, Brianna Jones, Kimball, 106. 4, Kim Mueller, Bridgeport, 109. 5, Breanne Franklin, Bridgeport, 111. 6, Jocelyn Brunner, Scottsbluff JV, 114. 7, Tessa Douglas, Bayard, 115. 8, Cassidy Mitchell, Bridgeport, 115. 9, Amanda Reichert, Perkins County, 116. 10, Rachel Hancock, Scottsbluff JV, 118.