Rain, freezing temperatures could interfere in this week’s girls state golf championships

All eyes will be on the skies — and the youngsters — at the girls state golf championships this week.

It may be easier for upperclassmen such as seniors Jalea Culliver of Omaha Marian and Aspen Luebbe of Columbus in Class A and junior Danica Badura of Aurora in Class B to fend off the freshmen than the qualifiers protecting themselves against the elements.

Rain is in the forecast Monday and Tuesday at the three tournament courses, Norfolk Country Club for Class A, Quail Run in Columbus for Class B and River’s Edge in North Platte for Class C. Norfolk and Columbus are expected to have more rain while North Platte could have freezing temperatures as well Tuesday morning.

“If Mother Nature doesn’t allow, we are exploring other options. Each site might be different,’’ NSAA Assistant Director Jon Dolliver, who oversees golf, said Sunday. “Course availability, volunteer availability, officials availability and course conditions will help guide those decisions.

“The forecast has changed in rain totals from yesterday to today in a good way, still not ideal. We are in communication with the National Weather Service in both Valley and North Platte. We likely won’t make any decisions until (Monday) when we know exactly what we are dealing with.”

Five years ago, Classes A and C were shortened to 18 holes because of weather. The last 18-hole event in Class B was 2009, when it snowed the first day.

Class A’s individual title could come down to a dual between freshmen Kate Strickland of team favorite Lincoln Southwest, who has the lowest scoring average this season, and No. 2 Kaitlyn Hanna of Omaha Westside. Sophomore Baylee Steele of North Platte is third, followed by Culliver and Luebbe.

No freshman has won Class A since Angie Wilson of Lincoln Southeast began her four-year title sweep in 1985. Strickland beat Hanna in districts last week by making birdie on the first hole of a playoff.

Badura, last year’s runner-up to Scottsbluff’s Shelby Poynter, will be up against Elkhorn freshman Emily Karmazin.

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