The Bluebirds finished fourth in the rugged region with 377 strokes behind Ryle (337), Notre Dame (342) and St. Henry (353). The top two teams and top four individuals not on the state qualifying teams made it to the state tournament. In 2017, Highlands finished fifth in the region shooting 393.
Highlands returns three players that golfed in the region tournament in senior Clara Bushman, junior Ellie Rowland and sophomore KJ Toole. The two that graduated that golfed in the region tournament are Olivia Hopper and Abie Wira. Gwen Culyer and Marlena Auch also graduated.
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"We are really, really excited about this upcoming season," said Mike Lipscomb, Highlands Head Coach. "We did make a huge jump last year. We have a few girls who have stepped up to the plate so far this season in practices. Hopefully, that will show in our tournaments. The girls set very high goals for the season."
Highlands switched over to the 8th Region this year. That region includes the likes of Grant County, Newport Central Catholic and Trimble County. Highlands finished undefeated in matches last year.
In his first season last year, Lipscomb wanted the girls to put some thought into their shots before firing away. He said the focus has been on other areas with the younger golfers this year.
There are several gals that could fill in the other two spots currently. They are senior Megan Farney, freshman Ali Welch, eighth grader Bailey Markus and seventh grader Jenna Richey.
"The girls have definitely grown from what I've seen from last year to this year," Lipscomb said. "They definitely think about what shot they're going to hit and what that shot will lead to for their second shot, especially out in the fairway. It's going to be exciting to see what they can do this year."
Bushman said the team has been spending a lot of time working on chipping and putting at Highland Country Club in Fort Thomas. The par for the 18-hole course is 70 with 35 on both the front and back nine holes.
"The Country Club is a pretty challenging course," Bushman said. "It has a lot of hills and quite a few bunkers. It helps make the other courses seem easier."
Lipscomb credited Highlands Country Club Golf Pro Mike Williams for helping out the Highlands golf teams. The 8th Region Tournament is at AJ Jolly Golf Course in Alexandria this year on Sept. 30.
"They're putting on some pretty quick greens here," Lipscomb said of Highland Country Club. "They keep them pretty nice and they roll them pretty frequently so the ball rolls pretty fast and it will roll pretty far so that really teaches them touch a lot quicker than working on greens that have been grown out a little bit more. I think this course is a great teaching tool for them."
Highlands plays in the Villa Madonna Tournament at Twin Oaks Golf Course in Covington. Tee time is 1:30 p.m.