ROCK FALLS – As the scores rolled in at the Rocket Invite, Rock Falls senior Kara Nehrkorn did some quick math and had a tongue-in-cheek question for her head coach Deena Thatcher.
"Can you go order another medal and give them out to the top 6 instead of the top 5," Nehrkorn asked, "because I just missed!"
Nehrkorn's 90 was good for sixth place in the Class A portion of the girls golf tournament at Rock River Golf & Pool, and also served as low score for a local girl.
Nehrkorn credited her drives off the tee and her iron play for her best score of the season.
"I was happy with my round, because I didn't play so well my first two meets this week," Nehrkorn said. "I hit the ball better from the tee and the fairway today, and it's something I can build on for the rest of the season."
Rock Falls was also sixth as a team, tied with Indian Creek after shooting a 427. Erie was 11th (460) and Prophetstown 13th (541) in the Class A half of the tournament, while Sterling did not post a team score in the Class AA half.
Jessica Stickel (100), Liz Lego (113) and Destinee Schumaker (124) also counted toward the Rockets' score.
Erie had three scores of 111 or better, led by Lexi Floming's 105. Morgan Newton had a 107, Katlyn Weber fired a 111 and Sera Bebon added a 137 for the Cardinals.
For Floming, it was a good start to her senior season after she missed all of last fall following shoulder surgery.
"I played solid, especially for my first tournament since my sophomore year," Floming said. "My round kind of fell apart on my third hole, but I was able to put the pieces back together and finish well."
The key to finding her groove came in the form of some advice from coach Ryan Winckler.
"He told me to calm down and smile," Floming said. "I had to laugh, because when he coaches basketball, he's always yelling and jumping up and down and slapping the floor. I thought it was really funny that his advice was to calm down."
Prophetstown's Abbey Baker found herself in the same quandary as Floming. Midway through the round, she was struggling to find any positives, but then got herself out of her funk to finish strong.
"It was a pretty rough day, really up and down for me," said Baker, who led the Prophets with a 118. "I struggled with different clubs off and on the whole round, but I finally realized what I needed to fix over the last few holes.
"I'm glad to get that first tournament of the year out of the way, and hopefully I can keep playing better as the season goes on."
Sterling senior Smith also had a "so-so" day on the course. Her score was the only one for the Golden Warriors that didn't involve the tournament's "Circle 10" rule, where pre-designated players could pick up their ball after the 10th shot on a hole as to keep the pace of play steady.
Sydney Shearer (118), Rachel Spencer (134) and Cassidy Peikert (157) also competed for Sterling.
The first 18-hole round of the year was a bit of a shock to some of the girls' systems – especially since it took nearly 6 hours to complete – and Smith counted herself amongst that group.
"I got tired there at the end, and it was pretty hot out in the sun," she said. "It was a little bit of everything out there for me today, but I think all four of us are happy with how the day went."
Geneseo won the Class A team title (374), while Rockford Lutheran's Kelsey Page beat Geneseo's Emily VandeWiele and Lena-Winslow's Lexi Graf for the individual crown in a three-way scorecard playoff after all three fired 87s.
In the Class AA portion, Moline's 362 beat Galesburg by five strokes, but Galesburg's Taylor Nesselroad fired an 81 to beat Harlem's Carson Racich by one shot.
Top 3 teams: 1. Geneseo 374; 2. Alleman 404; 3. Lena-Winslow 416
Medalist: Kelsey Page, Rockford Lutheran, 87 (won 3-way scorecard playoff)
Top local: Kara Nehrkorn, Rock Falls, 90
Top 3 teams: 1. Moline 362; 2. Galesburg 367; 3. LaSalle-Peru 419
Medalist: Taylor Nesselroad, Galesburg, 81
Top local: Michala Smith, Sterling, 110