Junior Kate Lewis made it to state with high hopes.
With Lewis being the first South team member to make it there in years, Lewis and South girl’s golf coach Dustin Carver were feeling optimistic. Lewis had performed well this season, even with the Covid restrictions in place to keep players safe.
“We wore masks and stayed distanced… we definitely still had to take precautions, but since we’re already an outside sport that’s pretty distanced there weren’t a bunch of changes,” said Lewis. Lewis had to miss a few tournaments early on because of quarantining, but this didn’t stop her from practicing hard and performing well this year . “Even with missing those tournaments, all in all it was a super year for [Lewis],” said Carver. “
On day one of the competition in Prairie View, Lewis was doing well. “I was feeling really confident on the first day,” said Lewis. Lewis felt that her short game around 50 yards in was her strong suit during state, while sticking to two putts per hole. “I always try to, but everyone has their three putts every once in a while.”
The green at Prairie View was also something Lewis had to get used to. “It’s definitely fast, and very firm. I had to reduce what I was hitting a bit… you’re gonna add yardage by just [the ball] rolling a bit more.” It was a change from the green at the Bloomington Country Club, where the South team normally practices.
Her coach was very happy with Lewis’s performance this year. “Her short game toward the end of the year was tremendous… I was super impressed,” said Carver. Carver hopes that with South players coming back into state, the rest of the team will benefit as well. “I think it’s a huge deal, anyone advancing to state… It should give the other girls some motivation to get there as a team.”
At the end of the first day, Lewis ended in the top 40 players out of 100. However, on day two, Lewis had an injury.
“I was feeling a bit of elbow pain on day one, but I finished off my round…I went in for the second day, but the pain was really bad then, so I had to withdraw,” said Lewis. It was a big letdown, but both Lewis and Coach Carver agreed that preventing a permanent injury was better than playing through the pain and possibly giving Lewis a more serious issue.
“This is the first of this injury I’ve seen on this team, but it’s a common one we see with golfers,” said Carver. “It was unfortunate, but you know, as a coach you’ve got to support your players… in the end, she felt like she couldn’t compete, and she knows her body and her limits,” said Carver. “I don’t want her to sustain a lifelong injury.”
Lewis, who has been playing with Carver on varsity every year since she was a freshman, is excited for her senior year, and ready to finish off state next year injury-free, fingers crossed. “I’m hoping to go back and actually get to complete two days,” said Lewis. Carver has his goals for next season, but will take it one day at a time.
“You know, these last couple years, we’ve struggled with conference. I think we start with that, then advance as a team down to regionals, and have a chance at winning sectionals,” said Carver. The sectional South plays in is the second-hardest in the state, according to Carver. “We’ve got to grow throughout the year — it’s a process, but it all starts in the off-season.” South will have 4 or 5 seniors next year, and the team’s goals are high for the 21-22 season.
Lewis hit well at state, despite her injuries, and the team is ready to bring South back as a regular to state.