Olivia Sublette, Samantha Hirner and Reigan Parsons advanced to the Class 1 state championships as individuals for the Palmyra girls golf team.
Make no mistake, the first nine holes of the Class 1 sectional at Heritage Hills Golf Course proved difficult for the Palmyra girls golf team.
The Lady Panthers were feeling the pressure of the moment Monday.
“I had my arm around all of them one at a time and tears were rolling down their faces,” Palmyra coach Chris Parsons said. “But they finally relaxed a little bit and realized it wasn't over yet."
Olivia Sublette, Samantha Hirner and Reigan Parsons stabilized to punch their ticket to the state championships as individuals. The trio of Palmyra juniors will play 36 holes at the Class 1 finals next Monday and Tuesday in Maryville.
“Exciting day for Palmyra golf, that's for sure,” coach Parsons said of the sectional. “The girls have put in a lot of hard work and time to get to this point.
"To have three moving on is fabulous.”
Palmyra, fresh off its first district title in just the third year of its program, posted a team score of 421 on the 18-hole sectional course to finish third in the standings behind champion Chillicothe (392) and runner-up Kirksville (403).
The top two teams in the sectional advance to state as a whole along with the top 12 individuals not on a qualifying squad.
Sublette carded a 28-over-par 98 to finish 13th overall in the field of 52 competitors. The junior shot a consistent 49 on both the front and back to finish as the top Lady Panther.
“Olivia (Sublette) collected herself and was able to get some key shots down the stretch,” Chris Parsons said. “She was pretty nervous down to the wire but was able to make this step. State is just the icing on the cake.”
Hirner finished strong on the final few holes to shoot a 101 for the round.
“Sam (Hirner) was able to finish par-par on the last two holes, which looking at the scores really was a big deal,” Chris Parsons said. “That got her where she needed to be.”
Reigan Parsons overcame a challenging start to post a 102 on the round — matching the cutoff point to advance to state.
“Reigan struggled early but she finally realized that if she didn't relax and be less tense her swing was never going to get fixed,” said Chris Parsons. “She had a few good shots in a row and it took off from there.”
Sara Ridout and Mallory Comstock also competed for Palmyra at the sectional. Ridout overcame a 68 on the front nine with a 52 on the back for a final score of 120. Comstock finished with a 130.
The three advancing Lady Panthers plan to participate in a practice round Sunday before the two-day state tournament.
Their coach has a message for them: relax and enjoy the ride.
“The girls want to do their best and put themselves up there in contention,” Chris Parsons said. “I hope they do. But no matter what, this is that next step and now we can say that we've been to state and build on that.”