It might be a safe assumption to pencil Andover golfers Audrey Meisch and Jessica Morrison into next week's Class 5A tournament. A duplicate of their production this season will likely allow them to advance beyond Monday's regional in Emporia.
The Trojans won't be satisfied with just a sample representation, though. With superior depth beyond Meisch and Morrison, Andover believes it has the ability to send its whole team to the state tournament.
An example of Andover's acumen came this week, when the Trojans won the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division II title at Consolver. There were Meisch and Morrison occupying Andover's top two spots, but three more Trojans finished in the top 10 as they won the title by 24 strokes over second-place Goddard.
"Qualifying the entire team is always a special accomplishment," said Ryan Harshaw, the Trojans' first-year girls coach who has coached the boys team since 2001. "This team really enjoys being around each other and tries to play well for their teammates. Hopefully we can accomplish that goal Monday."
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Qualifying as a team would be a stark difference for Andover, as Meisch and Morrison were its only state participants in 2010, and they each finished well behind the winner.
Meisch has elevated her game this season and Morrison, a fellow senior, has often been right on her heels.
The two have often been Andover's top two finishers in tournaments this season, and they have led the Trojans to tournament wins in the league meet, over Kapaun Mount Carmel in the North Invitational, and a second-place finish at the Andale Invitational, where the Trojans finished a stroke behind the host.
"Audrey and Jessica are irreplaceable, not only as players but as leaders," Harshaw said. "It's always nice to have your most talented players also be your hardest workers. I'm lucky to have been given the opportunity to coach them, as well as the other girls this season."
Classifying Andover's remaining golfers into a separate category from Meisch and Morrison could diminish their accomplishments. If the two senior stars happen to have an off round, young players have most often filled the void.
Freshman Hayley Meisch, Audrey's sister, and sophomores Maddie Routhier and Ashley Teinert have turned Andover from an incomplete team into one that features several players of similar abilities. Each of them finished in the top 10 at the league meet.
"Everyone is important on our team from No. 1 to No. 6," Harshaw said. "Each play their own role, and without each girl doing their part we would not have had the success we have experienced this season."
The success can reach a new level during the next two weeks. Or at least a level Andover is accustomed to after winning state titles every year from 2004-07. But to match that high level, the whole team must be involved.
"The goals have remained the same since the first practice," Harshaw said. "I thought we lost a little bit of focus over the last couple of weeks, but I think winning league got us re-energized and gave us some momentum going into regionals."