Sarah Himmelsbaugh ‘21: There is no greater feeling than the realization that one’s hours of practice and dedication paid off. The Romeo Girls’ Golf team experienced this feeling quite often over the course of the 2020 season. This past Wednesday, October 7th, the Bulldogs teed it up at Cherry Creek Golf Club for their Division 1 Regional Tournament.
The sun just began to peek out over the trees when the team arrived at the course, with high hopes of qualifying for the State Finals. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs warmed up on the putting greens as usual, with a surprise delivery of cider mill donuts from Coach Scally. Dozens of other players stretched and took their first practice swings of the day — each hoping for a ticket to States.
Around 9 a.m., the Bulldogs began walking to their starting holes. As the sun shined, the high nerves of the players diminished, as the confidence in knowing the amount of preparation that went into this day surpassed any performance anxiety that morning.
The day seemed to be filled with ups and downs, as Romeo started off in 2nd as a team, later moving down to 5th, back up to 4th, and then ultimately finishing at 7th out of 12. While none of the girls performed the best, many individual moments of pride and success presided.
Although the team failed to reach States, Sarah Himmelsbaugh ‘21 pulled off the 2nd individual position for the finals. Coming in with a 91, Himmelsbaugh at first tied with 2 other girls. 1st place secured for one girl, and a 3 way tie for 2nd place followed behind. With only 3 total seats to qualify individually, the 3 girls at 91 participated in a playoff hole.
Hundreds of players, coaches, and spectators lined up behind the 18th green as the three girls walked back to the tee. News cameras and a rules official stood to the right of the tee box as a die rolled to determine who teed off first. Himmelsbaugh rolled the highest number, meaning she teed off third. Even Elise Rilley ‘23 felt the tension as a spectator.
“It was really stressful at the end. There was a lot of pressure, and a lot of people watching. I wasn’t even playing, and I was nervous,” said Rilley.
Himmelsbaugh travelled to the green in 4 strokes on the par 5, one behind regulation, but even competitively with one out of the two other girls. The third reached the green in 3 strokes. In the end, it came down to an 8 foot putt that Himmelsbaugh needed to sink in order to earn a spot at States.
She made it.
This makes Himmelsbaugh the first ever Romeo golfer to qualify for the state finals multiple times. Karen Brown ‘19, the first to qualify, completed this feat her senior year. For Himmelsbaugh, this will be year two in East Lansing as a state qualifier. The event will take place next Friday, October 16th, at Forest Akers East Golf Course.
If Mia Hengel ‘23 needed to use one word to describe the girls’ season, the word is “progress”. With a lot of success mixed in, this year proved to contain growth. The underclassmen look forward to preparing for next year’s season, and Himmelsbaugh looks forward to one last round as a senior next weekend.