GERING — Hastings senior Anna Brant closed her final round of high school golf with two birdies and a par on three of her last four holes Tuesday during the Class B state golf tournament.
The strong finish ultimately wasn’t enough for Brant to reach her goal of securing a medal by placing in the top 15 — she finished tied for 18th, and the Tigers narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish in team scoring. But it wasn’t all bad.
It was a growing moment, a glimpse of the future, a taste of what it takes to be successful. All while saying goodbye to Brant, the program’s leader the last two seasons.
“I feel good about how we finished up,” said Hastings coach Rick Christy. “We already spoke about how excited we are for next season knowing that we made the state tournament as a team, and with a team as young as we are.
“Qualifying the team is a goal of mine every year and that’s the way we schedule our season, is so we have them in the best position come districts to qualify.”
The Tigers finished third in their district tournament, securing the spot through a team playoff, edging out Columbus Lakeview.
And so all of the Tigers trekked west for the second time in two weeks to play Monument Shadows Golf Club.
Brant’s father, Jeb, who followed her around both days of the meet, said Anna was understandably disappointed leaving Gering without a medal.
“But she shot 23 strokes better than last year at state,” Jeb said.
The finishing stretch was a reward for battling through windy conditions unlike those she and the field enjoyed during a calmer first round.
“She bore down, gutted it out and just played good golf,” said Jeb. “She started striking the ball better, everything kind of started to click, and the best part was she made her putts.”
Brant’s 89 with three birdies on Tuesday was a one-stroke improvement from Monday’s 90, which did not feature a hole under par.
Sophomore Kendall Consbruck also lowered her score — by four strokes — from a 109 to a 105.
“I was proud of Kendall,” Christy said. “It’ll come. They’re just young and they don’t quite know what it takes to get over the hump yet.”
Christy said that comes from “ownership, time and commitment.”
Gracey McIntyre (114) and Alayna Stephenson (119) rounded out Hastings’ team score. Cynthia Nelson carded a 134 during the final round.
“Alayna is the best 112 scoring golfer I’ve ever been around,” said Christy, who believes the junior is in for a promising senior season.
HHS had 13 girls out this season. Christy hopes the year’s success brings out more.
Brant aims to take her game to the next level with a handful of college offers looming. Although still undecided, “her best golf is ahead of her,” said her father. “She’s just starting something that will be in her life for a long time.”
Individual champion: Scottsbluff’s Anna Kelley dethroned defending champion Julia Karmazin of Elkhorn North by firing a 6-under 66 on Tuesday to finish the tournament 3-under (141).
Team champion: Omaha Duchesne beat the host Scottsbluff by eight strokes (353-361) to secure the team crown. Top golfers for the champions were Isabelle Gutschewski and Whitney Dahir, who tied for fourth place with a composite 161.
1, Omaha Duchesne 320-333 653; 2, Scottsbluff 323-338 661; 3, Elkhorn North 348-347 695; 4, Bennington 357-370 727; 5, Beatrice 399-387 786; 6, Northwest 400-402 802; 7, Norris 423-392 815; 8, Waverly 424-404 828; 9, Gering 410-425 835; 10, York 408-432 840; 11, Hastings 421-427 848; 12, Lexington 476-459 935
1, Anna Kelley, Scottsbluff, 75-66 141; 2, Julia Karmazin, Elkhorn North, 71-72 143; 3, Tia Phaisin, Waverly, 79-81 160; T4, Whitney Dahir, Duchesne, 76-85 161; T4, Isabelle Gutschewski, Duchesne, 79-82 161; 6, Pierre Paquette, Beatrice, 82-81 163; 7, June Mullen, Duchesne, 83-82 165; 8, Nielli Heinold, Scottsbluff, 81-86 167; 9, Kathleen Kelley, Duchesne, 82-86 168; 10, Taylor Mazour, Northwest, 88-82 170; T11, Madison Mumm, Gering, 82-89 171, T11, Elizabeth Wright, Duchesne, 87-84 171; T13, Mallory Stirek, Blair, 87-88 175; T13, Olivia Ottman, Northwest, 84-91 175; T15, Shae Willats, Scottsbluff, 83-94 177; T15, Emily Huff, Elkhorn North, 91-86 177; T15, Payton Morgan, Bennington, 89-88 177