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The 2013 Mt. Pleasant girls golf team with its head coach Fred Stabley Jr.

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PREP GOLF: Oilers primed for D2 state finals

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When you toil away at something year after year it’s nice to achieve the ultimate goal.

In this instance we’re talking about the Mt. Pleasant High School girls golf team.

For the past four years the likes of Lauren Lyon, Whitnee Foote, Emily Gunning and Sam Berryhill have been working on their game daily in the hopes of making it to the state finals before all was said and done.

Last week this senior group, along with junior Kate Flanagan, saw all its hard work pay off as the Oilers locked up their first appearance in the Division 2 state finals since 2008 via a third-place finish in regionals.

The Oilers, who shot a 379 in regionals and edged Flushing by one stroke, will take to the course one final time this weekend as they compete in the two-day Division 2 state finals at Forest Akers East in East Lansing.

“For us this has been our goal, just to get there,” said Mt. Pleasant coach Fred Stabley Jr. “Now that we’re here if we play our best rounds, which we’re planning on doing, we have a chance to finish in the middle of the pack. Any place from 10th to fifth or sixth would be great. If we can improve four or five shots (per golfer) then we can beat a bunch of teams. Reaching it was our No. 1 goal so now we’re kind of re-assessing things and we’re going to go in there and do the best job we can.”

Heading into the tournament the Oilers have the 11th-best regional score in the 15-team field.

Thus catching the likes of the top-five teams is likely not going to happen as the discrepancy between scores is too big. For example South Lyon enters the finale with the top regional score in the field at 329 while Birmingham Seaholm is second with a 331 and Okemos third with a 339.

However the Oilers could figure into the top-10 mix and that’s the goal going forward.

Heading in the Oilers have 18 years of varsity golf experience between them and each member of the team is chomping at the bit to hit the course one final time as a team.

“Honestly, I didn’t even know if we were going to make it but I’m really glad that we did,” said Lyon, who missed qualifying for the finals as a freshman in a playoff. “It’s our senior year and we’re going to the state finals, which is something we haven’t done since we’ve been here, so it’s awesome . It’s pretty cool to finally be able to go to this meet. I would like to see us in the top 10.”

Foote added, “Our goal has been to get better and have fun competing against everybody else. I think it’s pretty cool because no one thought we could make it except coach Stabley, he knew we could do it. He pushed us to do this and now we’re going.”

Gunning also spoke to the point, “It’s really good to go with this group because we’ve all worked really hard together to get there. It’s a good feeling to be able to go with people who you have improved with over the years.”

Where the Oilers finish awaits to be seen but this group has achieved its ultimate goal going out, which is a point of pride with both the team and its coach.

“These girls are the most fantastic girls,” Stabley Jr. added. “I feel so fortunate to have one more week with these girls. It’s been a real privilege to watch them play and grow as golfers. They’re all going to do something significant in life and that’s the most important thing.”

Perhaps Lyon put it best when she spoke to making it to the finals by stating, “it’s the icing on the cake.”

Last Updated: 10/17/2013 2:47:05 PM EST