Sally Gallagher has had a pretty successful high school golf career.
In three seasons golfing for Woodbury Central, Gallagher qualified for the state tournament all three seasons.
But something was different at state last season. While she enjoyed her first two experiences — she finished in a tie for fifth place in Class 1A as a freshman and 12th place in 2A as a sophomore — last year's experience is something she wants to duplicate.
It wasn't just because Gallagher, who is the Sioux City Journal's Siouxland Athlete of the Week, finished in fourth place as an individual at 1A, it's because she got to share the moment with her teammates since Woodbury Central qualified as a team and finished in eighth place.
Gallagher wants to experience that same feeling again this season.
"We obviously want to get back there and place higher than that. That's the biggest motivator. My freshman and sophomore years, I made it to state but it wasn't as enjoyable as last year," Gallagher said. "Last year the whole season was amazing and it showed our success through the season and how we worked together and tried to improve together.
"It was one of the most fun sports seasons I have ever been a part of."
So far the season is off to a good start for Gallagher, a Southwest Minnesota State recruit, and the Wildcats. Woodbury Central won the first Western Valley Conference meet of the season and Gallagher was the medalist - by seven strokes with a 41. Then Woodbury Central defeated Akron-Westfield 210 to 214 and Gallagher was the medalist with a 40. On Monday, Woodbury Central won its second WVC meet of the season at Ida Grove and Gallagher was the medalist again with another 40.
Woodbury Central's prom and Gallagher's 18th birthday were both on Saturday. On Sunday, the Woodbury Central golf team could be found out on the links practicing.
"That's pretty impressive because prom was (Saturday). It was too nice to not get out there (Sunday)," said Gallagher, who plans to major in education so she can become a teacher. "I feel like everybody is working really hard and everyone is getting out to the course and putting in the work. Everyone wants to improve and that's awesome."
Hannah Stratton, Sidnie Graff and Megan Warren rounded out Woodbury Central's top four golfers with Gallagher last season and all three of them return.
With the core nucleus back, Woodbury Central coach Jill Gallagher, Sally's mother, thinks the team can make it back to the 1A state tournament.
"We have four returners who played all of last season and contributed. I am pretty sure that there wouldn't be as many teams that have that much returning," Jill Gallagher said. "We really do believe we can attain and work toward that goal. They worked hard in the offseason to get better so they are all driven to get better because it was a great experience."
While Sally Gallagher is excited about the team's potential this season, it doesn't mean she's taken her eyes off the top individual spot. She wants the gold medal.
"Sally is really determined to have it be her best season," Jill Gallagher said. "I think with her ability, there is a good chance for her to be a state champion. She's willing to put the work into it. I am hopeful that she gives a good run at it."
Sally Gallagher already had standout basketball season. She scored 14.4 points per game for Woodbury Central and hit 63 3-pointers to go with 120 rebounds, 32 steals and 28 blocks. Her older sister and two of her older brothers went on to play basketball in college.
Gallagher thought about going that same route and even though she enjoys basketball, golf is more of a passion for her. Her brother Anthony is a golfer for Buena Vista.
"Basketball and golf have been the main sports for our family that has really brought us together. When it came down to it, I was looking at (some school) for basketball and golf," Gallagher said. "I love both but I think of golf as a lifelong sport and can maybe even make a career out of it. It's just someting I've always loved.
"It's not that it comes easy but I've learned so much from it and it has helped me grow as a person mentally because it's a very, very mental sport. I enjoy it."
Track and Field
Emma Zoet, Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley ... Zoet won the 100-meter hurdles in 16.52 seconds at the Western Christian Invite and then won the 400-meter hurdles in 1:07.93.
Cody Post, Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley ... Post won the 100-meter dash in 11.10 seconds at the Western Christian Invite and then won the 200-meter dash in 22.69.