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Southwest Livingston HS girls' golfer Campbell to state tourney again next week

Lady Wildcats senior placed fifth in Class 1 district tourney Monday. Brookfield one of only two Class 1 team qualifiers for next Monday’s, Tuesday’s Class 1 girls' golf state tourney

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
Senior Makenna Campbell of Southwest Livingston High School follows through on her iron off the tee during an Aug. 31, 2020, match at Chillicothe's Green Hills Golf Course. For a second year in a row, Campbell has qualified for the Class 1 state tournament. This year's event will be Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 19-20, at Smithville.

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

For a second-consecutive year, Makenna Campbell of Southwest Livingston High School will represent the Ludlow-based school in the Class 1 girls’ golf state tournament.

Campbell placed fifth individually in the District 3 tournament played at the par-74 Shirkey Golf Course at Richmond last Monday, shooting a 103 for the 18 holes. That handily put her among the ranks of state-tournament qualifiers.

A year ago, as a junior, Campbell carded a 246 in the 36-holes state tourney at Nixa, placing 79th among the 90 individuals. That followed a 102 in district play. Realistically, she’ll be shooting for an upper-half finish among the 90-95 competitors playing at state.

The Brookfield High School girls’ golf Lady Bulldogs are one of only two teams which will vie for the Class 1 state team championship Monday and Tuesday (weather permitting). From left, seniors Kaley Smith, Avery Thompson, and Demi Downey and junior Carly Clarkson made that happen when each – led by champion Downey – shot among the 18 lowest scores in this past Monday’s district tournament at Shirkey Golf Course at Richmond. Their play resulted in a 441 low-4 team score which earned BHS the team district title. (Photo Supplied / Angie Downey)

Four Brookfield High School golfers also will be involved individually and collectively in the Class 1 state championship on one of the Paradise Pointe Golf Club courses Smithville Monday and Tuesday (weather permitting).

Lady Bulldogs Avery Thompson, Carly Clarkson, Kaley Smith, and District 4 individual champion Demi Downey earned that opportunity by posting among the 18-lowest individual scores in last week’s 18-holes district tournament. In the process, they won the district team championship. By advancing four players, BHS became one of only two schools which will compete for the Class 1 team crown. Sedalia: Sacred Heart, which will be clearly favored to prevail, is the other.

Under revised Missouri State High School Activities Association postseason procedures this year in the wake of MSHSAA membership’s voting to expand the number of classifications in most sport – including girls’ golf, the 18 district players with the lowest scores (including all players who might share the 18th-best score) earned the chance to play at the 2020 state tournament. Only schools with at least four players advancing to state are eligible to compete for the team state crown.

That contrasts with state-qualifying procedures used for many, many prior years.

Previously, there was a district tournament from which at least two teams and about the top dozen players from teams which didn’t place first or second would advance to a state-qualifying sectional tourney. From there, again the top two teams and about a dozen players would move on to state. If any school that didn’t finish in the top two in the team standings managed to qualify four individuals, it also would be included in the state team competition. 

This year, however, for the first time, with more classifications (four, rather than two) and thus fewer schools and players in each district tourney, a new state-qualifying process was developed, eliminating the winnowing sectional level of postseason play.

While team scores were tabulated at districts and champions crowned, there was no team-advancement component to state play. Instead, only any school which had at least four players advance individually would be able to generate a team score at state and thus duel for the team state crown. As things turned out – perhaps not surprisingly in Class 1, only the aforementioned two schools managed to put four in the top 18 of their respective districts.

Sacred Heart won its District 2 tournament with a low 372 score, compared to Brookfield’s 441 and will have all five of its lineup members competing individually at state. That means the Sedalia Catholic school will be able to use the four best scores its quintet posts to fashion its team score; Brookfield, with only four participants, will sink or swim on how all of them fare.

Individually, Downey, daughter of BHS coach Angie Downey, projects as a definite contender for a state medal (top-15 finish) after winning the district title with her 89 at Richmond last Monday. She won the title there by five shots over Marceline’s Tess Sheerman. A comparison of scores from other districts suggests both Downey should have a strong chance of posting among the 15 best scores.

Downey is making a second-straight appearance in the state tourney. Last year at a Nixa course, she shot a 214, tying her for 43rd place.

Making their state debuts Monday were Downey’s senior classmates Thompson and Smith and junior Clarkson.

They punched their state tickets last week with varying degrees of comfort.

Clarkson’s 114 put her 11th in the standings and Thompson’s 117 had her 14th. Smith, however, had to sweat it out until virtually the final score was posted before finding out her 121 had let her share the last qualifying berth with two other golfers. Had she taken one more swing of a club, neither she nor the Lady Bulldogs team would have advanced.