Chesterton's Kelly Grassel will have more on her mind than her individual round in today's IHSAA state finals, and that's acceptable for the Trojans junior.
Grassel is second overall at 3-over-par 75 entering the championship round at The Legends in Franklin. More importantly to her, the Trojans earned the program's first trip to the second day and sit tied for fourth at 335.
"I didn't really know where we stood; I just finished my round and went straight to the range to hit a couple of balls," Grassel said. "I asked a few people, and they said we made it -- by a ton.
"It just feels so awesome. I'm so happy."
Grassel, who finished third last season, wasn't too pleased with her standing, a double-bogey 6 on her final hole (No. 9). After a good tee shot, she left her second shot short and after a missed par putt, she rushed the next shot and missed it also.
"It was extremely careless of me," said Grassel, who recovered from a 1-over position after three holes. "It was out of frustration. I tried to tap it in too quickly. I learned the hard way. Every shot counts."
She believes she'll be more relaxed today, especially with her team playing along side her.
"I know they're behind me," said Grassel, who trails leader Brooke Beegle of Hamilton Southeastern by two strokes. "This is like icing on the cake for us. I'm going to give it my best shot."
After missing the second day by two strokes last season, the Trojans stormed through the wet and windy conditions to make school history. Marissa Kroeger finished at 82, Stephanie Drake had an 87 and Nicole Dutz carded a 91.
"Marissa was consistent for us, and Stephanie had a great front nine," said Chesterton coach Dale Hewitt, whose team is 19 strokes from leader Hamilton Southeastern (316). "This is an excellent round for us with the wind gusts around 30 miles per hour. This team prepared themselves physically and mentally.
"We've reached one of our team goals, now we're going to see how deep we can do (today)."
Valparaiso sophomore Harley Dubsky advanced again to the final round, carding a 78 to enter today tied for 10th.
After a frustrating triple-bogey 8 on No. 8, Dubsky struck back with birdies on Nos. 13 and 18. She rallied for a 36 on the back nine, but remained disappointed with parts of her game.
"It was really windy, so you would think the tougher shots would be driving or hitting the pins," said Dubsky, who placed fifth last year. "Mostly my pitching and chipping hurt me. It was one of those days where I had to muddle through."
The Vikings finished 16th (367).
Also missing the cut were LaPorte's Ariana Mendez-Sota (87) and Highland's Allison Banasiak (93).
Slicers coach Mark Wilson said his Spanish foreign-exchange student battled back from a rough start. She had five bogeys and two doubles on the front nine, en route to a 45.
"She just didn't settle down quick enough," Wilson said. "Her ball striking went well all day, but she missed a few putts. She kind of just ran out of time."
Banasiak had a birdie on No. 16, but she couldn't overcome triple-bogeys on 11, 15 and 18 plus doubles on 10, 13 and 17. Despite the high numbers, Highland coach Tom Brankin was impressed with Banasiak's resolve.
"She was pretty realistic about her expectations," he said. "I told her just to go out and enjoy herself. I'm just proud of her attitude. I don't think either of us thought she would be here a month ago."