CLAYTON -- The gloomy, overcast skies that loomed over the Deer Creek Golf Club provided the backdrop to the first WCC championship of the year as Cascade's girls' golf squad was 18 strokes better than Monrovia on Saturday afternoon.
The Putnam County squads were paced over 18 holes by South Putnam's 428, four better than Cloverdale's 432, with Greencastle (447) and North Putnam (451) rounding out the field.
Cascade was led by Jessica Smyth's 76, the lowest round on the day, six better than the 82 shot by Monrovia's Chrislyn Church.
The two were joined on the all-WCC team by Cloverdale's Victoria Boyette and Sydney Shrum, Greencastle's Katie Hedge and Jessie Bennett, North Putnam's Ellen Wilborn, South Putnam's Caitlyn Boyce, Krista Powell of Cascade and Merideth Kneiper of Monrovia.
With performances that varied from front half to back half, and even sometimes from hole to hole, the course at Deer Creek provided some players with great rounds and the coaches with some thoughts to mull over before the Putnam County match Thursday.
"We definitely could have shot better, but every team could say that. We're happy about where we finished. We're happy that, out of all the county school on a neutral course, we were able to shoot the best," South Putnam head coach Brian McClure said.
"Jessie McKean, our number four, stepped up today and shot a 107. That was big help to the team and we were glad to see her shoot what she did."
"We're happy for Caitlyn (Boyce) who will be all-conference. We're excited that she'll be receiving that award for the second straight year," McClure added.
"I felt great for Victoria to end her senior year with an 86. She started to hit the ball well last week at practice. She was hitting her irons better and it was a good time for her to play her best golf," Cloverdale head coach Matt Langdon said about top shooter Boyette.
"Sydney didn't shoot as well as she would have liked. I thought she might be a contender for medalist. She still got all-conference, which is a great accomplishment. We've got two all-conference and we're getting there.
"Our young girls are shooting better. They've all had good rounds. If would could just put them together all at once, we think we've got a shot at county and maybe even the sectional," Langdon said.
Greencastle head coach Brad Kingma was not as upbeat. "It's disappointing. We were in second after the front nine. This team has talent to be a good team but it lacks experience and that showed up today. They lost their composure on the back nine.
"The back nine is easier and we've played two matches out here so we should've been able to do well but we lost that composure. Only one girl played better on the back than the front."
"To get two girls to be all-conference is nice. This was Katie's best round out here. She shot 41 on the front nine and had just one bad hole in the back nine so she played well," Kingma said.
"Jessie is a first year senior. She had one shot to be all-conference and she did it, so that's really pleasing. Lauren (Bridgewater) has improved all year and played better on the back nine, which showed she can be a real good golfer in the future," Kingma added.
"I think they did pretty good. A couple of girls were disappointed on the front nine but one cut that down by 13 strokes. The other got into some penalty problems but played it even. Overall I'm pleased," said North Putnam head coach Linda Patrick.
"Ellen got all-conference, which was one of her goals this year, to be in the top ten and she made it. I think we did as good as we could coming into it with the competition we had."
"Cascade is always tough with some low scores. I was hoping we might beat one of the county schools, which we didn't, but that's OK, we'll do that at the county meet next week."
Patrick, along with the rest of the county coaches now have three days of work and matches before the Putnam County match Thursday. With only a 23 stroke gap between the four schools at Deer Creek, all four schools feel as though a solid finish is within reach.
"What I want to see is us not come in last. We want to come in first, but we want to be realistic. I'd like to see a couple of the other girls that are seniors shoot well and hit their goals this year. There was one that should have been their today but just had some bad luck," Patrick said.
"I'm hoping that a couple of these girls will shine at the meet and be in the top five," she added.
Kingma said for his Tiger Cubs, success is about having a short memory in regards to bad shots.
"We just have to play. What we have to do is make sure to learn that, you can hit a bad shot. What you have to do on the next one is turn that into a good shot to recover and not let a hole get away from you because you lose it emotionally," Kingma added.
For McClure, he'd like to see the Eagles built off their performance.
"Hopefully we can just carry the momentum over into Thursday. We're probably going to get out there and practice at Clover Meadows and hopefully did what we did here Thursday," McClure said.
Langdon has the home course advantage and likes his team's chances.
"It's always nice to play at home. It's always nice to be there. Sometimes that adds a little bit of pressure knowing that's your home course and people expect you to shoot better," Langdon said.
"It was a good indicator that we are contenders for the county. It could go to anybody," he added.
At Deer Creek GC
Team Scores: Cascade 382, Monrovia 400, South Putnam 428, Cloverdale 432, Greencastle 447, North Putnam 451
Medalist: Jessica Smyth (CA) 76
South Putnam: C. Boyce 100*, K. Boyce 107, McKean 107, Cash 114, Woodworth 127
Cloverdale: Boyette 86*, Shrum 92*, Moore 124, Spencer 130, Ellebracht 134
Greencastle: Hedge 89*, Bennett 100*, Johnson 127, St. Marie 129, Bridgewater 129
North Putnam: Wilborn 103*, Scott 109, Schutter 119, Parent 120, Smith 131
* = Denotes All-WCC Team