MESQUITE — Andy Schaper kept a secret from the members of the Boulder City girls golf team for most of Thursday.
Only after the Eagles officially were announced as the Class 3A Southern Region champions did the third-year coach reveal it was his birthday.
“What a great present just to play well,” Schaper said. “Taking away winning the day, seeing them all play well and have their best scores as a coach is just a lot of fun to see.”
Led by medalist Lani Potter, Boulder City shot a season-best 361 as a team at Falcon Ridge Golf Course to secure its first region title since 2010.
Pahrump Valley was second at 385, followed by Tech (419). The three teams and all five individuals who competed Thursday qualify for the Class 3A state tournament that starts Monday at Ruby View Golf Course in Elko.
“I am just incredibly thankful for him, ” Potter said of Schaper, “and I’m glad that we could give back to him for all the things that he’s done for us.”
Potter carded a 3-over-par 75 on the 4,440-yard layout to win the individual title. Moapa Valley’s Josie Delgadillo shot 83 and was second, followed by Western’s Carolyn Lemon at 85.
Pahrump Valley’s Krista Toomer (86) was fourth, and Tech’s Scout Pope (88) rounded out the top five.
Potter was cruising at 2-under after she birdied No. 10, but the junior made bogey on two of the next five holes before disaster struck on the par-5 16th hole. Potter hit two balls out of bounds and went on to make a triple-bogey 8.
“This was a goal that I wanted to achieve, and I’m very happy that I did,” Potter said. “There were a few tee shots, because it was shorter, I didn’t exactly know how to go about playing it, like the one where I got an 8 on. I could have shot very well today, but it’s OK, always improving. Even not doing very well, I still learned a lot of things that will help me.”
Boulder City’s Madisan Walker shot 89, Sydney Krumm shot 98 and Ryann Reese finished at 99, as the Eagles had all four scores under 100 for the first time this season.
It was Walker’s first career round in the 80s, and the first time Krumm and Reese have broken 100.
Krumm skipped across the fairway in excitement when her approach shot on No. 18 cleared the bunker complex guarding the green to leave her with a manageable chip.
“I’m very excited, very proud of them,” Schaper said. “At the end of last season, we had our awards banquet and I said to them, ‘You know, we have a chance to put a really good team together next year. Let’s really go after this.’ And we started meeting, back in January, a couple times a months, three times a month, and just tried to get the golf club familiar in their hands a little bit more, and I think you’re starting to see some of that hard work pay off for them.
“As they continue to work and eliminate some of those mistakes, it’s just going to get better.”
Boulder City will enter the two-day state tournament with an opportunity to capture its first state title since 2010. Elko is the top qualifier from the 3A Northern Region and carries a 371 average, a score the Eagles have equaled or bettered four times this season.
“I’m excited going into state,” Schaper said. “I think if they can get up there and look at it as a business trip and get really focused on what we’re going up there to do, I’m excited to see what they might be able to accomplish.”