Pioneer’s girls golf team has advanced to regional play for the first time since 2002.
The Panthers grabbed the third and final spot in the regional with a 375 at the Twin Lakes Sectional at Tippecanoe Country Club.
Mati DeWitt led the Panthers with an 11-over par 83. The senior finished third among all individuals.
Also for the Panthers, April Wheeldon shot a 94, Nicole Schroder had a 100, Emilie Powell had a 101 and Mikayla Greiner had a 113.
Pioneer coach Dale Samuels said just about everything came together perfectly for his team on Friday.
“The course was just awesome for us. The greens weren’t as fast as normal. They had watered the greens a lot during the week plus the rain. The weather was perfect, there was no wind to deal with whatsoever. They shortened the tees on a lot of the holes and took some of the danger out, especially on the front nine,” he said. “I saw more concentration out of the girls. It was one of those days where everything seemed to go right.”
DeWitt realized the potential she had shown throughout her career.
“When we’re playing for something she really gets down to it,” Samuels said. “She putted really well. She hit some long putts.”
Twin Lakes’ Taylor Hornung shot a 76 to earn medalist honors. Rensselaer’s Courtney Feagans was second with an 80.
Twin Lakes won the team title with a 348, and Kankakee Valley was second with a 355.
Samuels said the Panthers didn’t know they were going to advance until DeWitt came in with her score. They defeated fourth-place Lowell by eight strokes.
“Lowell was right there with us. Their No. 1 shot a 90 so it came down to her and Mati’s score to determine who would go,” he said.
Wheeldon, a junior, shot a 94 at the sectional in her first year of ever playing golf.