MICHIGAN CITY — Keeping a lid on expectations is arguably Drew White's largest challenge for the girls golf season.
Monday's performance in the La Porte County Invitational didn't help matters any.
"For a long time, I was telling girls who shot 105 to go out and give it their best," Michigan City's coach said. "Now I'm dealing with these type of golfers."
The Wolves bolted from the season gate shooting a 301 on the par-60 North Course. It was 21 strokes better than last year and prompted White to go check through the books to see if a team had ever finished on the south side of 300 there.
"It's a testament to the hard work (the top three) put into their games to go out and finish one, two, three," he said.
Lia Thomas fired a 69, edging teammates Taylor Skibinski (70) and Sara Poulin (72) for medalist.
"I think this was a good starting point," said Thomas, who improved on her course best by three strokes. "Everybody played good. My whole goal coming here was to break 70. I'm happy I did that, but I also had a lot of bogeys I shouldn't have. I'm pretty pleased, but my score also could have been a lot lower. I had lots of stupid mistakes."
Skibinski has been dealing with ankle injuries and was going to sit out the tournament. The problem was, the remainder of the Wolves roster wasn't available to play, City only had four players.
"Skibi shot a 70 and wasn't happy because she double bogeyed the ninth hole," White said. "She really wanted to be in the 60s. Sara is going to be right there. My goal for her is to be able to get down in the 80s on a somewhat regular basis. She has been there. She's a tremendous golfer. Last year, she was the unsung hero in all of this."
Caroline Kearney's 90 was City's fourth score.
"Caroline did a tremendous job," White said. "That 90 is probably better than I expected. I hope by the sectional, she's on the other side of 100. With the other three, come get us."
New Prairie was second at 347, an improvement of roughly 100 strokes over last season, according to coach Bruce Watson. Jordan Winters was fourth individually with a 74, followed by sister Jaiden (82) and Zoie Martinez (86).
"They've made really good improvement," Watson said. "They're working hard. They should have a good season. Last year, we had three kids who had hardly ever played before. Maybe now we can keep the younger kids learning on JV. They're a good team to coach."
Senior-less La Porte, minus one or two contributors, shot a 390. It was led by Gabby Hull (94).
"I was happy with the scores," coach Libbie Gilliland said. "We're seeing improvement."
Marquette (391), without No. 1 player Ann Peterson, had Abby Novak shoot an 88, one better than Sandra Paholski.
"You can't teach much out there during the course of a round," coach Bill Luegers said. "There are a lot of short game errors that can be cleaned up."
Abi Bohm's 103 was the best score for inexperienced South Central (436).
"Two of girls had never golfed before. This was their first venture into golfing," coach Gloria Horn said. "One of them played nine holes before. This was her first time playing more than nine. They did much better than I thought they would. I told them to keep the (scoresheet). Our last match of the year is here, so we'll look at it and they're going to be impressed."
La Porte County Invite
M.C.'s Lia Thomas was medalist with 69.