The Jackson girls golf team is coming off its most historic campaign in the program’s three-year history after the Indians competed in the Class 2 State Championship Tournament for the first time in 2019. Jackson ultimately ended up taking third place in the tournament as three Indians finished in the top 25 individually to earn all-state honors.
“All of the girls came in super excited for this season,” Jackson head coach Carrie Korbecki said. “Those four girls who are returning from our five who went and played at state last year are especially excited.
“Obviously we’re hoping we can get some major tournament practice in before postseason comes around, but we’re going to take whatever matches we can get this year. [Our returning starter’s] confidence is spreading to the rest of the team, and them taking third at state has promoted the golf team more.”
Coach Korbecki now even notices girls who are in fifth grade and up that are excited to play for the program when they reach high school because of last year’s final-four finish.
On the road to state, Jackson won the Class 2 District 1 Tournament Championship as one of the team’s golfers who is returning this season took home the individual district crown as well. That would be none other than junior Kaydi Rhodes, who won districts with a score of 71.
“Kaydi has played all summer. She had an awesome opportunity and got to go down and play in the High School Golf National Invitational at Pinehurst [Resort in North Carolina],” Korbecki said. “She placed 39th out of 140 golfers — another opportunity where there’s girls from all over the country playing. She has improved incredibly since she was a freshman and is confident out on the course.
“She knows which clubs to choose, she knows how to play smart golf and she’s mentally positive. She’s been helping the other girls on the team if they want to fix something with their swing or just encourages them.”
Rhodes was also one of the three Indians to earn all-state honors by tying for 21st place (168) with fellow junior Ella Overstreet in the state championship tournament. Overstreet was an all-district medalist as well by taking sixth place in that tournament with a 79.
Heading into last season, Overstreet was no stranger to making history as she became the first golfer in program history to qualify for state and capture all-state honors. She did so by taking 25th place with a 170 in the 2018 state tournament.
“[Ella] spends most of her time playing in out of town tournaments, which we encourage because it gets them that exposure to higher levels of competition and for college purposes,” Korbecki said. “She has a lot of footsteps and shoes to fill with her older sisters being Taryn Overstreet and Sarah Bell. I think that adds pressure to her, but I also think that pressure is what pushes her to keep improving her game and keep working.”
Overstreet could not practice with the team last week since she played in the Rolex Girls Junior Championship ran by the American Junior Golf Association hosted at the Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau. “It’s an excellent opportunity for her because she’s playing against golfers all over the country, so I think that will help her coming in since she’s played against that high competition,” Coach Korbecki explained.
The other two golfers returning from last year’s third-place team are junior Jacie Pattengill and sophomore Maggie Davey, who placed 63rd and 87th at state, respectively.
“Watching Jacie, she feels confident on the course. There could be times in the past season where she might be a little timid or think, ‘I may not make it in this situation,’” Korbecki said. “Returning to our fall practices this year, she seems calm and collected when she’s on the course. Her game has improved, and she’s shaved strokes off her golf game.
“Maggie was pretty excited to be a part of that starting five last year that went to state and made history as anybody would be but especially as a freshman. Because of that excitement, she spent more time in the offseason practicing. Watching her in practice, she controls her emotions more.”
The only golfer not returning from this past season is 2020 graduate Taryn Overstreet, who is now playing golf at Drury University. In her senior year, Taryn placed fifth at the district tournament and finally 18th overall at state to finish her career as a three-time all-state honoree.
“I was super confident last year with our girls going in — they were a great group of girls and had that support system with each other,” Korbecki said. “Coming off of that season, they’ve kept that support for each other and love for the game of golf going even in the offseason. They spent all summer practicing in tournaments because they want to have that same success this year.”