Blue Springs girls golf coach Jill Courter is past being surprised by freshman Mariah Peters.

Blue Springs girls golf coach Jill Courter is past being surprised by freshman Mariah Peters.

Usually, first-year high school golfers battle a variety of rookie hiccups. Mental miscues, breakdowns in course management and sporadic focus typically come with the territory when handling new varsity golfers.

But Peters has been a special case all season long, and that continued Thursday as she fired an 85 to tie Sedalia Smith-Cotton’s Lauren Azan for first place at the Class 2 District 6 Tournament at the Fred Arbanas Golf Course at Longview Lake.

The Wildcats advanced four to Wednesday’s sectional tournament at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield as Lindsey Lafal (99) finished 19th and Paige Braden and Kristin Shaw both carded 101s to tie for 22nd. Those scores were in the top 15 postings outside the top two teams, which earned automatic bids. Braden and Shaw were the final two golfers to make the cut. Allyson Guffey shot a 103 to just miss qualifying, but the Cats took home a fourth-place team finish and will have enough players to compete as a team in Wednesday’s sectional.

Columbia Rock Bridge posted the top score with a 353. The Bruins were followed by Columbia Hickman (376) and Blue Springs South (381). Lee’s Summit West (398) took sixth, Lee’s Summit North (425) was eighth and Lee’s Summit (425) finished 10th in the 11-team field.

Asked if she was worried about her freshman star Peters succumbing to postseason jitters, Courter didn’t hesitate with an answer: No way.

“For her to shoot a 46 on the front nine and come back and shoot a 39 on the back really says a lot about her and her composure,” Courter said. “For a freshman, that’s pretty unheard of.”

Not only was Peters getting her first taste of the postseason, but she did it in less-than-ideal conditions as wind gusts of close to 30 mph whipped the course throughout the afternoon. But Peters, who plays golf year-round and competed in an Optimist Junior Golf tournament in Florida over the summer, said it was a simple adjustment.

“On the first hole I was a little nervous,” Peters said. “But then after that I was like, ‘Why are you nervous. Just play and go on.’ (The wind) really impacted about three holes. After about the front nine it kind of calmed down a little, but it was still pretty windy.”

The Jaguars advanced a trio of golfers as Jordan Rehkow registered an 86 to finish tied for third. Tara Thorp and Madison Frerking tallied 95s to tie for 13th.

But any joy South felt was peppered with sympathy for seniors Gretchen Kucera (105) and Amanda Sinclair (107), who ended their high school careers.

“I’m really happy for the underclassmen who made it,” Jaguar coach Mike McGown said. “I can’t even think of a word to describe how I feel for our two seniors. They’ve put their heart and soul into this team and have really done an awesome job the last couple years. I just hate to see them not get to go on.”

McGown also noted the wind factor, which was discussed prior to taking the course at the Jags’ team breakfast. McGown instructed his squad to play the course more conservatively.

“As we were playing on the front there were some challenging holes,” Rehkow said. “On a lot of the par-4s, Coach is like, ‘Play this as a par-5, get a 5 on this hole because it will be a challenge for some of the other girls. ... You just have to focus on every shot. Play my game and not let the other girls influence how I play.”

North’s Lindsey Graham also advanced by shooting a 100 to finish tied for 20th. But like McGown, Broncos coach Amy Merritt dealt with conflicting emotions as North’s No. 1 player, Jessica Swaim, fell just short with a 103.

“Lindsey Graham played great today,” Merritt said. “I feel bad for Jessica because Jessica has played and been our leader and played well and just missed going to sectional. ... But she was very excited for Lindsey, and I think that just kind of tells you what kind of player she is, even though I’m sure she was really, really disappointed.”