Rock Bridge girls golf team fifth at state championships

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | 7:35 p.m. CDT; updated 9:39 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rooming with her coach at this year's Class 2 Girls Golf State Championship didn't bother Rock Bridge senior Kayla Burri at all. She said it was anything but dull.

As Burri and her coach Melissa Melahn began settling into their room Saturday night at the Sleep Inn in Springfield, Mo., they couldn't miss the eight cans of Silly String in the goody-bag that Burri’s mother had made up for the team. Burri said after seeing the cans, they looked back up at each other.

“We gotta get 'em,” Burri said as her teammates banged on the other side of their room’s door.

Burri and Melahn flung the door back and began coating the other girls with massive amounts of sticky, multi-colored string that shot out of their aerosol cans. The surprise attack sent senior Hadley Thompson squealing down the hallways as she tried to escape the steady stream of goo that Burri shot at her.

“We were just trying to relieve as much stress as we could,” Burri said by phone, giggling while describing the whole event.

“It was a perfect example of the mentality the whole team had,” Melahn said. “The point was to not make it a stressful event, so we could come out and have good rounds.”

The relaxed mentality helped the Bruins finish fifth Tuesday playing in their first state tournament as a team in 20 years. After shooting a 357 on Monday at Fremont Hills Country Club in Springfield, Mo., the Bruins shot a 354 on Tuesday. The Bruins’ 711 put them two points away from fourth-place St. Teresa’s Academy.

Notre Dame De Sion won the tournament with a 653, followed by St. Joseph's Academy (690) and Ursuline (699), giving Rock Bridge the top public school performance at the event. The only disappointment was that the Bruins missed out on a medal by one place.  Bruins sophomore Morgan Reimler said the team wasn’t dwelling on that, though.

“The medal would have been icing on the cake,” Reimler said. “But considering Rock Bridge as a team hasn’t been here in 20 years, I think that fifth place is still a pretty good finish.”

Melahn said she was extremely proud of Burri and junior Meghan Mueller, who both finished in the top 10 in the individual standings. Burri, who finished 24th at last year’s state tournament, shot an 81 on the second day for a 161, placing her in a tie for fifth. After just missing the top 10 with her 11th place finish last year, Meghan Mueller stepped up her game and finished in a tie for ninth with a 163.

“I really couldn’t ask for anything better,” Melahn said. “They knew what they were capable of, and I am very proud of those two.”

Thompson said the state championships were a great way to end her career.

“It was a great new experience playing against this whole new level of competitors,” Thompson said. “As a senior I was pretty relaxed because I had nothing to lose, but at the same time, I stayed focused because I knew that I needed to help out the team."

Thompson shot career bests two days in a row with a 97 on Monday and a 95 on Tuesday. Her 192 total put her in a tie for 68th.

Despite battling a sickness, Rock Bridge freshman Kaitlyn Marsh improved her score the second day as well. After a 99 on Monday she had a 96 Tuesday, finishing in a tie for 72nd with Hickman's Shelby Harper and four other golfers.

“I just didn’t feel like myself,” Marsh said. “I had a virus the week before, and I’m still on medication trying to fight it off. I was just able to improve on the things I did wrong the first day, and shoot a better score the second.”

Reimler shot 105s on both days to earn 105th place.

After playing her last round of golf as a Bruin, Burri said she had mixed feelings.

“When I finished, I was really excited and sad at the same time,” Burri said. “I’m going to miss playing with them so much. They have a ton of enthusiasm and have been a huge part of my senior year.”

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