MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

April 29, 2012

Twist of fate sends Muskogee girls golf home for state

— Maybe it’s one of those twists of fate where all live happily ever after — or in this case, the team that didn’t expect to go and did and the team that thought they weren’t going to go and is when the Class 6A girlsgolf championship gets underway this week.

It would take a Miracle on the Greens, similar to the famous “Miracle on Ice” involving the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team against the Soviet Union to be really happy, as in getting some gold to take home. But that’s OK, because the hockey story too had an unexpected twist of fate or two.

As for Muskogee High School’s girls golf team, the twist was the use of a tee as an alignment aid by the Ponca City No. 2 bagger at last week’s regional. Ponca City’s team had apparently left the course, according to MHS golf coach Kevin Hogue, when the Owasso girls they were playing decided to ask about what is a known violation of rules.

The decision was made to disqualify her, requiring Ponca City to count its worst score, some 20 strokes off their No. 2 bag. The result was that Muskogee moved up one spot, from seventh into the final team qualifying position.

Later this week, the OSSAA allowed Ponca City back in but didn’t kick Muskogee out, meaning 13 6A teams will descend on Muskogee Country Club, which is the state tournament host for the first time since 2003, according to club chief Brent Anderson.

“I don’t know the specifics as to why. I know it’s a rule but from my understanding the OSSAA said the ruling should have been decided in a more timely manner,” Hogue said.

How cruel might that have been for the golfer in question to realize in front of her team and others that she just sent her team into the off-season. Did she know the rule? Who knows, but here’s suggesting she’d be a candidate for one of those “wanna get away” commercials of a prominent airliner.

Instead, everyone will be here Wednesday and Thursday, taking their shot at the Soviet — uh, that’s Tulsa Union, who had five scores in the 70s at Ponca City’s Lew Wentz Golf Course, led by Nadia Majidi’s 71. Union (297) and Broken Arrow (303) were 30 strokes ahead of the rest of the field and 60 shots ahead of Muskogee.

But it’s on the Lady Roughers’ home turf this week.

“You would hope they would be more comfortable at a setting they play at — sometimes daily,” said Hogue, in his first year at MHS.

But, he said, there’s a hitch when it comes to Catrina Pearson, MHS’s No. 1 bagger making her fourth state trip, but first with familiar company.

“That’s not necessarily a positive because there’s a lot more expectations,” Hogue said. “You usually have a pretty good parent following anywhere you go. Now you’re talking 12 to 15 people cheering for you.”

Pearson, who actually took time out of a date at the Fort Gibson prom Saturday night to respond to that via cell phone, said it would be more like 25 “on and off” during the day.

“I’m used to seeing galleries when we come to 18 anyway, so I’m not worried about it. But I can understand what he’s saying since we’re at home,” Pearson said.

Instead there’s issues like weather and course conditions. To her, that’s enough of a mind full.

“It’s just great we’ll be there and play as a team,” she said.

Pearson, who  shot 81 last week, would have qualified as an individual anyway. So would’ve Adriana Wilson, who carded a career-low 85.

Now they’ll go as a team, presumably with the rest of the regional group of Michaela Stevenson, Sydnie Rosson and Katie Matthews.

“Celebrating as a team is something they haven’t done at this level in a while,” said Hogue, who has been busy building a program from the junior high up that could make such hoopla more of a habit. “Our goal was to make it to state, and now that we’ve done that, we’ve adjusted now and identified a couple of teams we haven’t beaten all year that we feel we can play with.”

Hogue wouldn’t identify those teams but it’s a good realistic assumption it’s not the defending champion Lady Redskins.

But hey, if you’re gonna pull off a miracle, do it with 10 or so more people watching and rooting for you.

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