GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets girls golf team wrapped up another great season over the weekend at the Division 2 state finals.
The Yellow Jackets spent all season long competing against the best competition in the state with the goals of winning a conference title and reaching the state tournament.
This year the Yellow Jackets placed second in the O-K Bronze, finished second at regionals and 10th at the state finals. Forest Hills Eastern ended the Yellow Jackets decade long run of conference championships and went on to win the Division 3 state title.
Muskegon Mona Shores won its fourth straight title in Division 2. They also topped Greenville at the regional tournament.
“We hoped for a top-five spot. I thought we could do that, but the weather was brutal and was brutal for everyone,” Greenville coach Nancy Johnson said. “It didn’t appear to be our day (Friday) to tackle the weather the way we wanted.”
The goal, though was reaching the state final. It was going to be tough for anyone to defeat Mona Shores.
“Just getting to the state finals is a thrill. Our new players got to see what it was like,” Johnson said.
Johnson said it is a great learning experience for the younger players like Karli Didion and Amanda Kerschen.
“Success breeds success. If we can show them that this is the reward for hard work, then they get excited about trying harder,” Johnson said. “It’s always a goal then for the next team to reach the finals again.
“They are already excited about working in the offseason. They are looking forward to that opportunity,” she added.
The Yellow Jackets were led by a trio of seniors in Britta Bernth, Lauryn Day and Jessica Bohner.
Bernth, who has a chance to be named all-state, placed 10th individually at the state tournament with a two-day total of 168.
“We were excited about that. It was tight, but she did it,” Johnson said of Bernth’s top 10 finish. “We are hoping now that she will be named to the all-state team.”
The seniors wanted to go out strong and Johnson was proud of their effort.
“I think they were OK when it was done,” she said. “They kept at it in the weather and did what they could. They would have liked to finish higher, but we can still hold our heads high and be proud of the entire season.”
In addition to success on the course, the Yellow Jackets earned success in the classroom.
The team earned Division 2 all-state academic honors this year, while Day earned individual all-state academic honors. The complete list and GPA’s will be released at a later date.
“We always make school No. 1,” Johnson said. “Our players know if they have something to do with school, they can call me and stay late after school and get to practice when they can. It’s great to know the kids stay on top of it.”
State awards will be announced on Nov. 2. Greenville will then have its banquet shortly afterward.
For Johnson, it’s always hard to say goodbye to her seniors. This year, with a new rule change, Johnson was able to walk the course one final time with her seniors.
The former rule said a coach could talk with their players from the green to tee box while switching holes. This year, coaches could walk the course until the golfer reached the green.
“Everytime you say goodbye, it’s hard to do that,” Johnson said. “This was the first year we could coach the girls on the golf course. I was able to walk with each of our seniors on their final hole and it was special.”