MAKANDA – The St. Thomas More girls' golf team has steadily been climbing the state tournament ladder.
The next step would be a doozy.
"This is the fifth year we've had girls' golf," Sabers coach Pat Hettermann said Saturday. "Last year we finished third and this year we were second.
"Definitely, we want to take the No. 1 spot next year."
STM will lose three seniors who placed among its top four scorers this weekend at the Class 1A state tournament. Then again, the Sabers lost four key seniors off their 2006 team and still ended up improving by one spot in the team standings this year.
"We're losing three phenomenal seniors," Hettermann said of Sheila Skulborstad, Rachel Hartman and Kelly Tresslar. "They're going to be really hard to replace. But we have a lot of young talent, and now they've seen what can be done."
Among the returnees will be junior Katie Jean, who tied for fourth with a 154 – 1 stroke shy of third place and 2 short of second.
After shooting an even-par 72 in Friday's opening round, Jean struggled with Stone Creek Golf Course's fast greens Saturday and carded an 82. Her round included nine bogeys, one triple bogey and two birdies.
"Yesterday, her putter was as good as a putter can get," Hettermann said. "Today, she hit the ball remarkably well but the greens were really tough and they gave her a little bit of trouble."
Particularly during the first two-thirds of Jean's round.
"I didn't putt very well at all the first 12 holes," Jean said. "If I would have putted (all day) like I did the last six holes, I probably would have shot 75. But I couldn't get up and down, and I had a couple of 3-putts. It's kind of frustrating, but overall it was a good experience. I think I played pretty well."
State champion Jaclyn Jansen of Effingham St. Anthony was the lone senior among the top five finishers. Like Jean, the others are juniors who'll be setting their sights high for 2008.
"I definitely think I can win next year," Jean said. "I'm competitive with all three of them."
Skulborstad tied for 13th at 170 after shooting an 85 Saturday.
Dombroski 17th in Class 2A
Jenna Dombroski of Centennial shot a 5-over 77 in the final round and tied for 17th with a 153 total at Hickory Ridge Golf Course in Carbondale.
Last year, a 153 would have been good for fifth place. This year, Dombroski's total left her 4 shots out of the top 10.
"I was disappointed about that," she said. "If you would have told me 153 was not going to make a top 10, I wouldn't have believed it."
Still, the Chargers junior was pleased with her performance.
"Between both days, I thought I played some of my most consistent golf this season," Dombroski said. "I had a few strokes that I felt like I left out there, but I'm not in any position to be complaining about a 76 or a 77. I thought I played well overall."