La PORTE — The Michigan City girls golf team entered Friday’s Pat Ford Invitational at Beechwood without its No. 4 golfer, Sara Poulin, who was sidelined with an illness.
Still, the Wolves finished sixth place in the 14-team field with 400 strokes, just two behind rival Chesterton as the regular season nears conclusion and sectional play begins next week.
Freshman Taylor Skibinski shot a team-best 92 for City, with Emily Gushrowski adding a 93 and Lia Thomas a 99. Emma Sells tacked on a 116 for the Wolves.
“Sara Poulin was under the weather, and our main priority is to have her be ready for Monday at the DAC Championship, and obviously when we come back out here on Friday for sectionals,” City coach Drew White said. “Just looking at the whole scoreboard, all the teams were high today. We are much better than our score today indicates. That being said, I will say I am proud of the kids. They didn’t play well, but they kept their chins up and had smiles on their faces. They know what they have to do to make sure we’re successful.”
Gushrowski admitted that her performance could have been better.
“The day didn’t go the way I thought it would,” she said. “I’ve hit a rough patch lately in the way I have played. I’m just looking for improvement, but I did see some improvement today. I’ve been a pretty decent putter, but my drives are the weakest part of my game.”
Finishing in 10th was South Central, which shot 469 and was led by senior Chloe Ryan, who shot a 51 on the front nine and 47 on the back nine for a score of 98.
“Everything was good today except my chipping and putting,” Ryan said. “The greens were cut this morning, so the ball was going very fast. It was a lot different from what I’m used to. But I’ve been happy with this season because I’m getting more distance out of every shot.”
South Central coach James Ridley said that Ryan’s skill and leadership won’t be the only thing missed when she graduates this year.
“Four out of our five golfers are seniors, and they have all made great improvements from last year to this year,” Ridley said. “I will hate to see them go because that will be a tough group to replace. Chloe has been in the program all four years, and all the seniors have been hitting their stride.”
New Prairie, which finished 11th, was led by a 106 by Jordan Winters.
“I have one girl who is experienced (Winters) and three who are just getting started,” New Prairie coach Bruce Watson said. “That said, I thought we played really well.”
La Porte, which shot a 502 for a 12th-place finish, received a team-best 106 from Madeline Fleshman and a personal-best 125 from Ella Schable.
“It was a really good day,” Schable said. “My chips and putts were working for me.”
Slicers coach Libby Gilliland said she has taken note of the growth of her squad.
“Everybody on the team has made improvements,” she said. “Many came into the season with not a lot of experience. Ella shooting a personal best is great this close to sectionals.”
Marquette, which was led by Ann Peterson’s 111, finished 13th place.
“I hit my 8-iron pretty well, but my putting and drives were not the best,” Peterson said. “I’m going to work on both of those for sectionals, and I’m hoping to improve on those. I’ve had a lot of scores in the 40s, so this has been a good year for me.”
LaCrosse, which had three golfers competing on Friday, was led by a 122 from Autumn Scarborough.
“Autumn shot a 122 at Swan Lake and here,” Tigers coach Mitchell Semans said. “Those are good scores at courses that I think are tougher courses than Valparaiso. I’m looking for good things from her and her continuing to improve.”