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PREP GIRLS GOLF: Farwell's Colosky, Baldwin prepare for state finals

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The Farwell High School girls golf team has proven that if there’s a will, there’s a way.

A program that just three years ago was unable to field a complete team not only captured invitationals this year but shattered school records in the process.

“When I started three years ago, we only had three girls, so we could never score as a team until last year when we picked up an extra girl. That girl didn’t come back out again this year, so we were back to where we were three years ago,” said head coach TJ Staley. “We gained two freshmen this year that actually did really good though.”

Despite the lack of depth, Farwell for the third consecutive year has qualified golfers for the state finals.

Senior Sammie Baldwin and junior Bria Colosky both qualified as individuals from a regional hosted by the Manistee National Golf and Resort one week ago. The pair will be competing at the Division 4 state finals, hosted by the Bedford Valley Golf Course Friday and Saturday.

“It was great for Sammie to qualify this year individually,” Staley said. “We knew that she could and that she’d be right in there when they were figuring out the scores because they take the top three teams with the lowest scores and then all the other individuals on those teams will go next. We knew Sammie would be right there if we didn’t qualify as a team. We’re very happy for Sammie with this being her senior year.”

Baldwin, who qualified for the state finals as well in 2012, says that despite a rough stretch during the middle part of the season, she is happy with how she ended the fall.

“I started off really well, but in the middle we went to some tougher courses, so obviously my scores were down,” she added. “I ended the season with some really good scores though, so I’m excited for the future. I’m really excited to be going to the state finals. Without taking out the individuals as a team that made it, I would have missed it by one stroke. I’m glad that I get to have the experience of going this year.”

Baldwin’s looking forward to gaining further experience Friday.

“My main goal at the beginning of the season was to get consistently in the 80s and place well in the regional,” she said. “I’m looking forward to going and getting the experience of playing with all of the top people.”

A three-time state qualifier, Colosky shot an 81, good for second place, at last week’s regional and is looking to better last year’s already impressive finish at the state finals. The junior finished ninth in 2012 and 10th in 2011 at the event.

“Having a young team with two freshmen, a junior and a senior, I think we accomplished a lot,” Colosky said. “I’m glad that I’m going to states again and I’m glad that I’m getting to share it with Sammie because it’s her last year. It’s going to be emotional and it’s probably not going to be fun, but I’m glad I’m going to states again…I’m hoping this year to finish sixth or better, but top five is what would be my ultimate goal.”

Staley says that Colosky even had to rebound from recording a nine at the regional last week to claim second place.

“With Bria, we kind of expected for her to make it. She competed really well at the regional and she actually had a nine on a hole in that round, but she shot an 81. To come back from that and shoot an 81 for second, I couldn’t be any happier with her,” he said.

Colosky began working with local golf instructor Steve Robbins in July, something that has proven beneficial for Colosky’s golf swing and mental game.

“Steve has helped me out with a bunch of stuff,” Colosky said. “Honestly, my mental game has gotten so much better. I just try and get rid of the bad stuff and just move on now. I know that the next day is going to come, whether you finish first or last. He’s helped me out with my swing and with the little things.”

Colosky also credits her father Dennis, who bought her that first set of clubs when she was five, as being a major influence in her life and golf career.

“My dad got me started in golf. He’s everything to me and I wouldn’t be here without him,” she said.

Baldwin and Colosky were joined this season by freshmen Hayley Lewis and Kasey Staley.

“This was the first time that she had really played competitive golf,” said Staley on Lewis. “She started out by scoring a 148 her first time around, and she had never done 18 holes before. She managed to get her score all the way down to 117. Kasey averaged around 101 this year, so she played well. Again, it was nice to have a team this season.”

Without a conference to call home though, the Eagles faced their fair share of obstacles this fall.

“It’s been a tough year, especially when you don’t have a conference,” Staley said. “We do have to go to a lot of invites, so the girls miss a lot of school. That’s one thing that I am proud of is that the girls kept their grades up while they were doing it. A lot of times, conferences will have after school or nine-hole matches, which we really don’t have any of.

“We would really like to get in a conference where we can have those nine-hole matches and relieve some of the pressure of going to these invitationals. Yet again, that makes these girls that much better. It puts the pressure on them with practice time and missing school, but they’re still getting it done. I’m really proud of them for that.”

Last Updated: 10/16/2013 7:07:57 PM EST