It is a good thing for Dyersville Beckman Stephanie Coghlan surrendered to peer pressure.
When friend, Ellie Ament, persuaded her to play golf in grade school it eventually formed a potent 1-2 combination with Ament on the Blazers girls’ golf team.
The senior duo have elevated Beckman back among the state’s best as well as climbing the individual ranks together. Ament, Coghlan and the rest of the Blazers start the potseason with an Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Class 2A district meet Monday at Big Rock Country Club in West Union.
Their friendship started early in elementary school, living near each other. The golf relationship came when they were about 12 years old.
“I just remember trying to push her to go out for golf,” Ament said. “Finally, I got her to go out and I’m really glad that she did.”
The pair took lessons together, and played rounds with Ament’s dad, improving their golf games. They peaked last year when they both finished in the top 10 of the 2A state meet. Ament finished a shot away from a state title for the second straight year and Coghlan was seventh. The accomplishment was greater since they achieved it together.
“It’s very special, knowing she’s the one that got me into golf,” Coghlan said. “She was the one that inspired me.”
Coghlan provides her own boost to Ament’s game, challenging her to improve or get caught by her friend and teammate.
“She pushes me in practice. Last week she was right there with me in our meet,” Ament said. “It’s great to have a great friend play beside me. It’s really awesome.”
Both impacted the Beckman team immediately. According to Coach Jim Sheston, Ament and Coghlan were instant leaders, filling the top two spots in the Blazers’ lineup.
They helped Beckman place fourth in the team standings at state last year, which is the second-highest Blazer finish since at least 1996. It was Beckman’s first trip to state since a third-place finish in 2008, the year before Ament and Coghlan arrived in high school.
“When they came in, quite simply, the cupboard was bare,” Sheston said. “We knew Ellie would be No. 1 and Steph stepped in to that No. 2 spot and have done a wonderful job for four years.”
They have done it in different ways as well. Sheston describes Ament as typical No. 1 golfer, possessing the competitiveness and drive of a “Type A” personality. he said Coghlan is more relaxed, striving to make herself better. Ament said she is more talkative, attempting to get Coghlan to converse more on the course. Coghlan said they are supportive of each other, sharing positive comments before competition.
“They’re definitely individuals. They each have their own likes, dislikes and mannerisms,” Sheston said. “To me, it’s that perfect combination.”
Ament, first in 2A performance rankings by Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association, has nestled herself among the best golfers at state, but as impressive as the achievements have been the last two years they have been accompanied by some disappointment. Ament settled for state runner-up honors as a sophomore and junior. Both times she missed first by a single stroke.
She has her sights on capping her prep career with a state title.
“It’s a lot of motivation for me,” said Ament, who will continue her golf career at University of South Dakota next year. “I’ve worked really hard. Hopefully, this year will be my year.”
Coghlan had aspirations of reaching state as a junior and then blew that out of the water with her high finish. She proved she belongs in the top tier of 2A golfers, and entered this year motivated to surpass last year’s feat.
“I came into this season with a lot of confidence,” said Coghlan, who has plans to attend the University of Northern Iowa next year. “I feel like I’ve improved a lot just this season, too. Knowing I got seventh last season, a year more experience, would make me better.”
The Blazers, who won the Wamac Super Meet team title, are top ranked. Senior Jessi Scherbring, freshmen twins Brooke and Blair Klostermann and sophomore Jordynne Knipper give Beckman a solid squad. Not bad for a team that Sheston wondering where many of the golfers would fit in at the start of the season.
“To get that No. 1 ranking, it will keep pushing us,” Ament said. “You don’t let that get to our heads, but we ready want it this year.”
Ament has been told about the team’s potential for a long time. Now, they have started turning that potential into titles. Ament and Coghlan will be leading the postseason charge.
“This team can do a lot,” Coghlan said. “We all have the potential to go to state and have a good round at state.”
Big Rock Country Club, Blair Klostermann, Blazers, Brooke Klosternann, class 2A, district, Dyersville Beckman, Ellie Ament, Golf, Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, Jim Sheston, Stephanie Coghlan, West Union