Before competing Monday and Tuesday during the Class B State Golf Championships, the Blair Bears took a ride up to the top of the Scotts Bluff National Monument.
There the Bears took in a view not far from the Monument Shadows Golf Course below in Gering. Junior Anna Moore said it was beautiful.
BHS coach Ross Udey felt the same way about Tuesday's 18-hole team score.
“Finally broke 400,” he said.
The Bears shot a 435 Monday on a windy day in western Nebraska before taking just 389 swings on day No. 2. They finished with 824 total, claiming eighth overall in Class B — a two-place improvement from their school's finish last fall.
“He was really happy,” Moorse said of her coach.
“It built throughout the day,” Udey said of the Bears' confidence. He added that the high accompanying Tuesday's finish would likely last him until next season.
Moore shot BHS' tourney low, finishing with just 196 strokes over 36 holes. The junior carded a 99 on Monday and a 97 Tuesday, and her success all started with work on the range before state even started.
“My drives were all of a sudden great,” she said.
Moore, who tied for 22nd overall, was particularly proud of Tuesday's 97, which included a long par putt on the par-3 No. 7 hole.
“It kind of proved to myself that it wasn't a fluke, that first day,” she said.
Blair senior Rachel Parks, meanwhile, capped her high school career with the Bears' low round of the tournament. The 26th-place finisher took just 93 swings Tuesday, following up Monday's 108 with three pars over the course of 18 holes.
“I focused on a few more things today than I did yesterday,” the 12th-grader said.
Like Parks, BHS sophomore Mallory Stirek cut 15 strokes from Monday to Tuesday. She finished with 213 overall after 114 on her first 18 holes and just 99 more on next 18.
Mallory made par three times, while Addie Stirek sunk Blair's lone birdie in Gering. The sophomore did so during her 115-swing first round before coming back Tuesday and shooting a 100. Her 215 was good for 42nd out of 67 total Class B golfers.
Senior Kaia Stewart, meanwhile, was 54th with a two-day 227. She made two shots for par during her final prep round.
“It's been a really fast four years,” Stewart noted. Her class — which includes Parks and fellow BHS golfers Courtney Geise, Neenah Lindner and Kylie Quick — helped the Bears land back-to-back state qualifications after not earning a team berth for five-straight years.
“I'm just really proud of the girls,” Parks said.
Stewart added that her class wasn't always state caliber.
“We all really grew,” she said. “That's the coolest part.”
Next fall, Moore and the Stireks will look to continue what 2020 graduate Ava Rech and this fall's seniors pushed for the past two seasons.
“I'm going to miss them a lot,” the junior said, getting set to return east after a memorable state trip to Monument Shadows Golf Course.
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