By RICK PETERSON
WAMEGO -- Coach Jared Goehring will be looking for lower numbers moving forward as his Washburn Rural girls golf team closes in on postseason.
But given Tuesday's hot, windy conditions at Wamego Country Club, Goehring was happy to take a 15-stroke victory in Rural's invitational tournament and move on.
"We had some consistent numbers and today's conditions were tough,'' Goehring said. "This golf course was a great challenge to these ladies and I thought the middle of our lineup handled it the best today.''
Senior Aliyah North tied for sixth with an 82 to lead the balanced Junior Blues, who had four players in the 80s to finish with a four-person team score of 335 to easily out-distance two-time defending Class 6A state champion Shawnee Mission East.
Juniors Avery Scott and Mallory Nelson shot 83s and were part of a three-way tie for eighth place while senior McKenna Merrick shot an 87 to round out the Junior Blues' top four. Senior Kaitlyn Crough added a 90 and sophomore Raegan Petersen a 91 for Rural.
"A goal of ours is to win our home invitational and shooting in the mid-330s out here today was a great team score, so I'm proud of them.,'' Goehring said.
Seaman junior Lois Deeter was part of the three-way tie for eighth place with an 83 while sophomore Avery Zimmerman led Topeka High with a 101 and senior Olivia Morgan led Shawnee Heights with a 102.
Washburn Rural fielded two teams in Tuesday's invitational tournament, with sophomore Olivia Smith shooting a 95 to lead Rural's second squad.
St. James Academy senior Beth Grant shot a 4-over-par 74 to take medalist honors while Shawnee Mission South senior McLain Neal was second with a 75 and Free State junior Claire Berquist third with a 77.
Mill Valley senior Libby Green and SM East Tess Roman tied for fourth with 80s.
WASHBURN RURAL INVITATIONAL
At Wamego Country Club
Washburn Rural 335, Shawnee Mission East 350, Mill Valley 375, Manhattan 387, Wamego 387, St. James Academy 404, Aquinas 404, Shawnee Heights 438.
1. Beth Grant, St. James Academy, 74; 2. McLain Neal, Shawnee Mission South, 75; 3. Claire Berquist, Free State, 77; 4. (tie) Libby Green, Mill Valley, and Tess Roman, Shawnee Mission East, 80; 6. (tie) Ashton Pierson, Wamego, and Aliyah North, Washburn Rural, 82; 8. (tie) Avery Scott, Washburn Rural; Lois Deeter, Seaman, and Mallory Nelson, Washburn Rural, 83.
Other Washburn Rural -- McKenna Merrick 87, Kaitlyn Crough 90, Raegan Petersen 91, Olivia Smith 95, Annika Peterson 98, Kyndall Rose 99, Natalie Peterson 100, Anna Lacy 103, Liz Meier 103.
Other Seaman -- Madyson Hardesty 102.
Shawnee Heights -- Olivia Morgan 102, Rachel Donaldson 109, Lyla Blair 113, Jaccyn Bugg 114, Kameron Burnam 116, Karlyn Bowman 121.
Topeka High -- Avery Zimmerman 101, Keely Rogers 128, Celena Gordon 131.