NORTH PLATTE — A strong district run and some stellar results during the course of the season has Cedar Catholic girls’ golf coach Sheila Jueden feeling very optimistic about her squad’s chances to impress at this year’s Class C state tournament.
The meet, which takes place Monday and Tuesday at North Platte’s Lake Maloney Golf Club, will see a Cedar Catholic squad coming off a strong district showing.
“I would hope we can finish in the top 10 because I know they are capable, but everyone has to be on,” Jueden said.
The coach has enough precedent to believe this is possible.
Earlier in the season at the Pierce Invitational, they scored a 371 — a school record for a one-day, four-golfer event and of course their 414 at the district meet in Norfolk earlier this week didn’t lower the coach’s confidence.
“All the girls scored pretty low at Pierce and for all the girls to do that in one meet, I hope that happens all the time,” Jueden said. “At districts we scored 414 and I was very happy with that score.”
The team is led by three seniors – Rebekah Kleinschmidt, Maizie Christensen and Lauren Heine – junior Delayne Sudbeck, of Hartington-Newcastle, and sophomore Grace Biltoft who will hit the links when the lights go up on Monday.
Kleinschmidt scored a 103 at the district meet while Biltoft will step in for Hallie Noecker who is battling a back injury.
“I’ve got a couple girls that have stepped up the past couple meets,” Jueden said. “They feel positive that they will do well at state and not just be happy to have qualified. I just hope for the best that they have fun.
“Our three seniors’ goal was to make it to state, and they had done it the past two years.”
Biltoft will get ready to be one of the top five golfers on the season’s biggest days, but according to Jueden, “she will have to step up, but she won’t have any problems, she will be fine.”
The weather is expected to be much better this year in North Platte. Last year the meet was shortened because of bad weather. Cedar did not get off to a good start at that meet and ended the day 14th out of 15 teams.
“It was rainy, windy and very cold and a couple of my girls teed off and they called it off early with them 14 holes in,” Jueden said. “They just went with the one-day tournament and we were playing a lot better the second day. It is what it is.”
Cedar finished eighth in 2016, which is Jueden’s best-ever finish. They also made it to the state finals in 2015 with one individual and now the last four seasons as a team.
They enter the field with the eighth-best qualifying score behind teams like state No. 1 Lincoln Christian (386), Battle Creek (397) and Norfolk Catholic (401).
Lake Maloney Golf Club is a hilly course. It was last the site of the state finals in 2017.
Jueden said Battle Creek’s golf course is the closest thing to what Cedar Catholic has faced this fall with it’s hills and prairie grass.
Since the program consists of many players who didn’t even golf until entering high school, whatever the team does at State is gravy.
“Some of the girls I’ve had, they come in, they don’t want to play volleyball, but they want to be a part of a team,” Jueden said. “They tell me they’ve never swung a club in their life. Once they stick with it, they turn out to be pretty good golfers and they can play it the rest of their life.”
Now they hope to add some positive memories come the end of round two on Tuesday.