Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Class 1 Girls Golf: Breakthrough by Gabel Lifts MICDS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Class 1 Girls Golf: Breakthrough by Gabel Lifts MICDS

Article excerpt

JOPLIN * MICDS sophomore Stephanie Gabel did not make the trip last fall to see her school win its first girls golf state championship.

A member of the junior varsity squad at the time, she was not allowed to travel for the event.

"I had to stay back and go to class," Gabel said. "That's the way it was for us JV players."

A year later, Gabel finally made it to the big stage at Twin Hills Country Club. And she made a big difference on the course as well.

Gabel, normally the No. 5 player on the talent-rich defending state champs, came through with the biggest performance of her career Monday to lead the Rams to the top of the team standings in the 10-team event.

MICDS shot a four-player team score of 338 to grab a slim lead over Pembroke Hill (341). The final 18 holes will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Gabel fired a 16-over-par 88, tying for the third-best score on her team.

No big deal, you say?

Well, consider she carded a 33-over 105 in district play. Her score was not included in the sectional round as well.

But Gabel came through at the perfect time. Her 88 was the difference between first and second for MICDS.

"She works hard, but she's somebody I didn't really expect to count on," MICDS coach Steve Johnston said. "It's her first year on varsity. She was thrown right into the fire and I couldn't ask any more from her."

Gabel overachieved while several of her teammates struggled during a windy day in southwest Missouri.

Sophomore standout Shannon Gould shot a 6-over 78 and is tied for fifth in the individual standings. Senior Abby Schroeder fired an 84 but double bogeyed the 18th hole. Sophomore Mia Schroeder, who finished fifth at sectionals, shot an 88 along with Gabel. Nicole Shearing carded a 94.

"Worst round of my life," Shearing said.

Added Abby Schroeder, "It was tough all around for all of us."

Luckily for the Rams, Gabel was there to pick up the pieces.

"It was great to see her do that," Abby Schroeder said. "I was so happy for her, it almost made me cry."

Gabel turned in a steady, consistent performance all day long.

"I'm just glad I could contribute, do something for the team," Gabel said. "It feels good."

The rest of the MICDS squad did not shoot badly but was not up to its usual top-notch standards. The fact that the Rams are still in first place after struggling at times says a lot for the depth of the group.

"That's what makes this a team," Johnston said. "Not everybody can be at the top of their game every single round. There will be ups and downs.

"And we had someone to pick us up today."

Pembroke Hill sophomore India Gaume fired an even-par 72 to grab a one-stroke lead over Lyndsey Standage of Logan-Rogersville in the medalist race.

Most players stuggled with the wind and slow greens. Senior Drew Bolster of John Burroughs carded an 98.

"It wasn't my best day," said Bolster, who finished 10th individually at state last season. …

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