Pressure. What pressure.
As the Lima Central Catholic girls team look to capture its third straight Division II state title, the squad appears calm and poised as they practice on a brisk Tuesday morning. Even though the temperatures hover in the mid 40s, the Thunderbird linksters are clad in shorts and seem oblivious to the chilly temperatures as the go about their business of getting in an early round at Shawnee Country Club.
Even LCC head coach Dan Reinicke can’t explain how these girls are so composed but he knows that is one of the reasons that makes them one of the best teams in the state.
“If they are showing pressure they are not showing it,” Reinicke said. “They’ve played some tough matches this year. I think that has helped. By the time the twins (Mary Kelly and Erin Mulcahy) go off on Friday morning, they will have played four practice rounds and six competitive rounds on that course. They will have 10 rounds on that course.”
Reinicke said Emma Meyers has logged three practice and six competitive rounds and the other two (Bridget Mulcahy and Carla Van Meter have three competitive rounds.
The Thunderbirds will tee off at the Ohio State University Grey Course at Friday.
“They are calm,” Reinicke said. “They are not nervous and they know what they need to do. It’s hard to explain. They know what they need to do and we have talked about that every thing will take care of itself if we play within ourselves.”
Last year, LCC became the first Division II girls team to record back-to-back golf state titles and can enter unprecedented territory if they can three-peat and the way the team has been performing this season it is well within reach.
Reinicke intentionally put together a rigorous schedule that featured a number of times against Division I competition and the Thunderbirds responded by putting together what the Thunderbird mentor describes as one of the best seasons they could have had.
“We had two rounds where we shot under 300 and if you figure 288 for four girls is even par we were as good as we could get,” Reinicke said. “We only lost seven times, three to the same team, New Albany, who was the state champion the past two years the last two years and then the other four losses came to Division I schools We had a great season.”
Reinicke adds that the biggest difference from this year’s team is experience that they picked up from last season.
“They know what to do more. I they are more knowledgeable about the game. They are smarter about the game and I think that has made a big difference,” Reinicke said.
Reinicke attributes that the players’ even keeled approach where they never get up or get to down and attack the each hole with the same calm demeanor. He points out that this quiet confidence has made them even better this season.
“They know out to go and play the game and everything takes care of itself,” Reinicke said. “This is one of those sports where you can’t block. You can’t tackle. You can’t guard. You can’t throw it to someone else. You can’t receive it from somebody else. It is all what you do and they know that and they try to play with in themselves. They don’t get too high or too low.”
Even though the team is highly touted and regarded as one of the best teams in the area, Reinicke said the team remains grounded by following the cliché of taking each hole one at a time and that was a goal they set at the beginning of the year.
“We’ve done everything we have needed to do when we’ve needed to do it Wee had players not do so good and have other players played better and we knew that was going to happen. They didn’t worry a lot because they knew they could play the game.”
With this attitude, it is no surprise Reinicke describes this team as a cohesive unit that all got along and it is great how well they have gotten along.
As a long-time coach Reinicke added that he has seen a lot of talented squads and this is one of the best has seen at this level.
“To have this collection for this long is really amazing,” Reinicke said. “With a school this size we are fortunate that we have the kids that we do and they stick to it and they do what they need to do and in the 11 years that is the way they all were. This is my 11th year and my ninth year going to state. They are just good kids.”