They may not have won and they won't be going to Disneyland. Nonetheless, the Carson High School girls golf team is going to Las Vegas to play in the NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A State Tournament next week --and they couldn't be happier.
The young Senators shot their way to third-place at the Northern 4A Regional Tournament on Tuesday on grounds at the Eagle Valley Golf Course and extended their season by one more week. Carson shot a team round of 505 on Tuesday, the second best score at Eagle Valley East, and finished the 36-hole tournament with a 1,027 total that earned an invitation to the state tournament next Wednesday and Thursday at Black Mountain Golf Course in Henderson.
"I get to go down to Las Vegas with five of my really good friends. It's going to be awesome," said Ashley Faber, the lone senior in Carson's lineup who shot 93 on Tuesday. "Our team has done an awesome job this year. We've grown together as a team, as friends, everything."
Pretty good for a team that shot 551 to begin its season with an eighth-place finish back in August.
"I'm really happy for the girls," Carson coach Paul Croghan said. "This is a great finish to a season that started out a little slow, but they improved really well each week and they got rewarded for that. For a young team to qualify for state. This is six or seven years in a row as a team, so we kept the streak alive.
"I told them they have to practice another three or four days, that's the downside," he added with a laugh.
Meanwhile, Galena rolled to its third straight Northern 4A team championship with a final total of 908, 106 strokes ahead of runner-up Fallon at 1,014.
Galena freshman Luxchmi Gill shot 80 to take the first-round lead on Monday and came back with an 82 on Tuesday to earn medalist honors at 162, eight shots ahead of Wooster junior Kassia Nelson. Fallon's Darbi Detomasi was two strokes back at 172 to finish third at the Northern 4A tournament for the third straight year. Ardea Canepa and Meridith Holmes, the only two seniors on Galena's team, finished at 174 and 185 respectively to complete the list of top-five individual medalists.
Douglas senior Lindsay Knox shot 92 on Tuesday to finish sixth on the leader board with an overall 188 and qualify for the state tournament as an individual. This will be the second straight state trip for Knox.
Galena needed a tie-breaker to beat Reno in last year's 18-hole regional tournament, but there was no drama this time. The Grizzlies built a 59-shot lead on Monday and never looked back.
"Last year we came in and had a bad round and barely won, so we're excited about this ... it's fun to be in our senior year and win zone," said Canepa, a member of all three championship teams at Galena. "We were real focused for one of the first times this season. We all wanted this a lot, and we came through."
"That's one thing we've had problems with. We've been winning all season, but our focus really didn't come in until the last couple of days," Holmes added.
Carson was four strokes ahead of South Tahoe in the race for third-place coming into Tuesday's final round and the Senators managed to extend their lead to 10 strokes at the end.
"The kids worked hard and it paid off," Croghan said. "The kids did the work, but the one who deserves the kudos is (Eagle Valley pro) Terry Gingell. He's worked with them for an hour every Friday all season long and the results have been remarkable."
Sophomore Ciarra Christian and freshman Gabrielle Gallegos finished at 196, tied for 13th on the leader board. Gallegos shot 95, a career-best by five strokes, and Christian shot 96 on Tuesday.
Liz Rankl shot 101 on Tuesday to finish at 205 overall, Faber finished at 208 overall and Lindsay Farnworth 222 to round out Carson's team scoring. Faber shot 103 on Tuesday, capped by a 45 on the back nine.
"The thing on the front nine, I tried to make everything happen. I tried too hard, and then in the back of my mind, I thought, 'Hey, I'm just going to play my game and see what happens," said Faber, who finished with a par on No. 18.
Faber played golf at Dallas, Ore., before moving to Carson City at the end of her sophomore year, but she didn't make the cut to play for the Senators last fall.
"Last year I didn't get to play for the golf team, but it gives me a lot of joy to be here now," she said. "I just think we've worked together as a team. I didn't think we'd make it, and here we are. I'm very surprised, and I'm very happy."
Next up comes the state tournament at Black Mountain.
"We'll go down to Vegas and see what they've got and we know it will be a lot more than this. We'll see if we can drop some strokes in the next week. We just want them to go down and do their very best. If they can do their very best, then we'll be happy," Galena coach Keith Mussallem said.
"There's no pressure now," Croghan said. "We just go down and do the best we can. One hole, one swing at a time and see what happens."