AKRON, Iowa | State titles are nothing new at Akron-Westfield. Of course, that is when you are talking about the storied softball program that has claimed six.
Senior Bailey Davis and her teammates won the Class 1A state golf team title last week at Marshalltown, marking the first in Westerner history. It is an accomplishment that gives Davis a different kind of pride than when she helps A-W continue the success on the diamond.
“It is kind of the biggest one,” said Davis of the golf team state championship. “Softball is softball and there is a lot of people that can say they are a state champ or went to state in softball. Not many can say they have been there especially all four years and then come out with a bang at the end with the state championship.”
Davis had matching rounds of 87 to shoot 174 and finish in fifth place in her fourth trip to the state tournament to earn Journal Siouxland Athlete of the Week honors. Davis had one counting round at state as a freshman before finishing tied for 16th as a sophomore and tying for eighth place last year.
“This year I just kind of focused on myself, set goals for myself to keep my scores low,” she said. “At state I wanted to keep my scores low more for the team because I know three of us were always around our same scores, so if we keep our scores low we have a fourth one we can average out to reach our goals.”
The Westerners shot 378-360 for a 738 total to win the state crown by 15 strokes over New London.
“We shot our best scores of the year at the state tournament,” A-W Coach Todd Colt said. “Our team broke our school record for team score about four times throughout the year. … The final nine of the state tournament they broke their own school record by nine strokes.”
The Westerners shot 41, 42, 43, 46 as a team on the final nine with Davis, the Westerners’ scoring leader during the season at 45.88, finishing with the 43.
Davis and fellow senior Ann Hedlund, who finished tied for seventh place with a 177, have been a driving force for each other.
“We were there for our fourth time in a row and for me and Ann to kind of start it off our freshman year going to state for the first time it was a surprise just to do that,” Davis said. “To keep the tradition going these last couple of years, our fourth year was really special, and being seniors going out with a bang, a state title was really special.”
It capped a run that saw the Westerners finish third, fourth and second at state before this season’s victory.
The duo draws on its trips to the state softball tournament as an aid on the golf course.
“Because we have been to state softball so many years and tough situations like that I never really have been nervous for state golf,” Davis said. “Being there the last three years has just been a great experience, especially to golf with other great golfers.”
In addition to golf and softball, the daughter of Rich and Kim Davis of Akron also plays volleyball and basketball. It is a demanding schedule, especially at the high level she plays them at but she didn’t want it any other way during her high school career.
“You pretty much have a well set schedule of practice, school, more practices and obviously your school work always counts,” she said. “I guess that is what keeps me going. It is a lot easier to make my school work better and focus on that when I have to make a set schedule to work around my practices.”
The 18-year-old is going to attend South Dakota State in the fall with a major in pharmacy. For the first time in a long time she will not be playing any sports as she focuses on her studies.
Davis credits her sister Brandi, five years older, for helping her strive for success in athletics.
“She was a really big role model for me and taught me about everything,” Davis said. “I always looked up to her for everything just watching her get to go through all the sports she did. She really supports me in everything I do and it is kind of a challenge because I have got to pass a lot of goals she never got to make and lot of things she got to do, especially golf.”
The top-five finish was aided by a demeanor that Colt has seen a lot of as he has also coached her on the softball team.
“She has always been good at managing her emotions and that is also in softball,” Colt said. “She is a very smart golfer, she understands how to manage the course, but most important, she knows how to manage her emotions on the course.”
Sam Knight, West Monona… The senior won her third straight golf individual state title to become just the sixth girl to accomplish that in Iowa.
Camryn Cleverina, Sioux Center... She went 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs to help Sioux Center down No. 14 Spirit Lake 14-5.