Whatever bugs Mariah Peters had in her golf system before the fall, the Blue Springs junior certainly got rid of them.
Peters is The Examiner girls golf player of the year for second year in a row after helping the Wildcats back to the Class 2 state tournament, where she placed eighth individually.
“I struggled a bit this summer,” Peters said. “My swing was just getting into place at the beginning of the season. I felt more ready in previous seasons, but as the high school season progressed everything was falling into place.”
With her swing smoothed out, Peters said she was happy with the way she hit her driver this season.
“Probably the best I’ve ever hit it,” she said. “As season kept going it got better and better.”
After a second-place round of 81 in the Suburban Big Six meet at Paradise Pointe – where the Wildcats finished second to Blue Springs South – Peters earned medalist honors with a 4-over-par 76 in the district meet at Drumm Farm. The Wildcats advanced to sectionals over South by the fifth golfer score.
In the sectional meet at WinterStone, Peters recovered from a front-nine 43 to shoot 37 on the back, finishing third at +8 behind South’s Jordan Rehkow and Madi Frerking. By pitching out of the green-side bunker and saving par on No. 18, she helped the Wildcats nip Notre Dame de Sion by a stroke for the sectional title.
After taking sixth as a freshman at state and second as a sophomore, Peters shot twin rounds of 79 at New Bloomfield’s Meadow Lake Acres Country Club to finish eighth at +14. The Wildcats finished sixth as a team after taking fourth last season.
The junior’s nine-hole average rose a few tenths of a stroke this year, but stayed below 39.
“I know she wishes she would’ve finished a little higher at state, but she had a good season,” Blue Springs coach Jill Courter said. “She had a rough summer, but I think once she got around her teammates, it took some pressure off her shoulders.
“The state competition, any one of the top eight could’ve won an any given day.”
Peters said it was nice just to have her teammates there again at state.
“I can’t imagine not going to state without my teammates anymore,” she said. “They all worked so hard this year. I know how much time they put in, and it all paid off. They know that they can do when they’re playing well.”
Courter said one thing she tries to get her other players to notice how Peters maintains her composure on the course, regardless of the result.
“She is so strong mentally,” Courter said. “A good player, you don’t know if they had a good shot or bad shot. She doesn’t let it show.
“One of the things that always impresses me is when she gets in trouble spots. She could have a ball buried in a hole with grass covering it ... she works so hard on trouble shots, and a lot of girls won’t ever do that.”
Peters said the end of this season brought a little sorrow, but now for how she or the Wildcats placed.
“A lot of girls I played with, I played with them in the summer,” she said. “So many of them are seniors. When I got back from state I sat and cried because I’m going to miss them so much. We played with Sion a lot. Their No. 1, I’ll miss her, and Madi and Jordan at South and our two seniors, of course (Hannah Reynolds and Kalli Wood).
“The goal for next year is for the whole team to make it back to state. I know I’m going to work hard this summer, and talking with the other girls, I know how hard they’ll work.”
2013 Examiner All-Area Girls Golf
FIRST TEAM Name, Team, Year, Accomplishments
• Mariah Peters, jr., Blue Springs (2013 Examiner Player of the Year) — Three-time all-state honoree; 8th at Class 2 state (79-79–158); 3rd at sectional (80); Class 2 District 7 champion (76); Suburban Big Six runner-up (81); Mo-Kan Invitational champion (76). • Madison Frerking, sr., Blue Springs South — Class 2 all-state; Tied for 18th at Class 2 state (87-81–168); sectional runner-up (79); Class 2 District 7 co-runner-up (79); • Jordan Rehkow, sr., Blue Springs South — Class 2 all-state; Tied for 25th at Class 2 state (82-90–172); sectional champion (75); Class 2 District 7 co-runner-up (79); • Jailyn Marshall, soph., Blue Springs — Tied for 35th at Class 2 state; tie for 12th at sectional (102); 17th at Class 2 District 7 (92); 7th at Suburban Big Six Championships (88) • Mady Acers, fresh., Blue Springs — Tied for 53rd at Class 2 state; 5th at sectional (82); 4th at Class 2 District 7 (80); 5th at Suburban Big Six Championships (87).
Blue Springs: Hannah Reynolds, sr.; Kalli Wood, sr.; Blue Springs South: Tara Thorp, jr.; Fort Osage: Marina Rios, soph.; Grain Valley: Kaylee Hutchens, jr.; Lee’s Summit North: Lindsey Graham, sr.; Truman: Emma McClellan, sr.; William Chrisman: Amanda Olsen, jr.