Despite the fact that the Anamosa girls golf team should still be riding an amazing undefeated streak and a WaMaC Conference championship to this point of the season, the prize the Raiders really want is still right in front of them.

      The class 3A regional final golf tournament, which will be held at the Waverly Municipal Golf Course Monday, May 21, in Waverly. It’s Anamosa’s one-stop shot at making the state tournament.

      After the heartbreak of the conference meet last week, the Raider girls are more than ready to hit the course once again with Hannah Houska, Kara Hunt, Hannah Behrends, Taylor Zumbach, Sydney Volkenant and Lacey Smith all hoping to make school history, as Anamosa has never made it to the state level as a team.

      Those six Anamosa girls have already made school history with the campaign they’ve been able to put together so far this season, and regardless of what happens Monday afternoon, this team will go down in Blue Raider lore as one of the greatest ever.

      That is fact.

      What’s also a fact is that the Anamosa girls are in arguably one of the toughest regional final tournaments in all of class 3A.

      Anamosa is ranked 10th in the state according to the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association. That’s a pretty lofty number, but amazingly there’s two other teams in the regional ranked even higher. Dubuque Wahlert enters the 12-team tournament ranked third while Clear Lake is ninth as the tournament sports nine teams ranked in the state’s top-40.

      Vinton-Shellsburg (ranked 14th), Independence (20th), Crestwood (21st), Waverly-Shell Rock (22nd), Decorah (34th) and Forest City (38th) are all ranked among the top teams in 3A.

      That kind of competition won’t scare this veteran group of Raiders, however, who have been through the battles before and are led by one of the best 1-2 punches in the state in Houska and Hunt.

      Houska is ranked 19th in 3A with her 45.88 nine-hole scoring average while Hunt is 24th with her 46.71 average.

      Behrends also cracks the state’s top-75 golfers coming in at No. 68 averaging a 52.38.

      Only Gilbert and Washington have more teammates ranked higher individually than Anamosa does, but what makes these Raiders so strong is their depth. Zumbach, Volkenant and Smith have all come through with clutch scores at one time or another and have helped the team to impressive victories.

      That takes pressure off Houska, Hunt and Behrends, and allows them to just go out and play their game, not worrying about having to shoot a low score. Golf is so mental and when someone is focusing too much about shooting a particular number, that’s when trouble arises.

      There has already been a lot of amazing things happening within Anamosa girls’ sports over the past eight months. The cross country team earning a team berth to state. Volleyball making huge strides, the girls basketball team winning the program’s first WaMaC Conference championship and the track and field program sending several highly ranked relays and individuals to the state meet this weekend.

      We obviously have a very special group of girls going through the school right now, and if I were a betting man, I’d wager the success will continue into softball this summer as well.

      It will be fun to watch the events play out in Waverly, because it’s not often you get to say ‘first’ about many things in sports. Anamosa has a rich athletics history, and whether these Raider girls make state or not Monday afternoon, they have given us a lot to be proud of.

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