SMITHVILLE — Abby Howard brought home a district championship to lead the Liberty Blue Jays to a team title while Liberty North was runner-up at the Class 2 District 8 golf tournament on Monday, Oct. 7, on the par-72 Posse Golf Course at Paradise Pointe Golf Complex at Smithville Lake.

Howard fired an 84 to win her second career district title and edge out local rival Averi Mickelson of Liberty North by two strokes.

“I’m pretty proud,” Howard said. “It’s my last season so it’s fun to win. It’s a team goal.”

All five Blue Jays golfers earned all-district honors, finishing within the top 15 for a team total of 371. Jenna Phelan shot a 92 for fifth place while Jamie Phelan recorded a 96 for 10th, Isabella Peregrine a 99 for 8th and Hope Peck a 102 for 15th.

“We’ve kind of had a blueprint all season long and the girls stuck with it today and that allowed us to win,” Liberty coach Jason Carr said. “You always go into postseason event worried, concerned about who might step up, but our girls rose up to the occasion. It’s really a testament to the girls and their preparation that they’ve put in to get to this point.”

The Blue Jays take back the crown after finishing runner-up the past two seasons. They had a four-year run as district champs from 2013 to 2016.

The team goal, Howard said, is to make it to state. They’ll have that chance at sectionals Monday, Oct. 14, at WinterStone Golf Course in Independence.

Mickelson, who beat Howard last year for the district title, finished with an 86 for runner-up honors to lead the Eagles, who tallied a team total of 392 points to advance to sectionals.

“Anytime you can advance your whole team, that’s an accomplishment,” Liberty North coach Jeff Braden said. “We’re very young so that gives you a lot of hope for things to come.”

Kate Braden and Emmy Braden, twin daughters of coach Braden, joined Mickelson on the all-district team. Kate shot a 99 to tie for 10th place and Emmy turned in a 101 to tie for 13th.

Olivia Hellerich (106) turned in a 19th-place effort while Kaitlyn Lafferty (121) was 31st.

“I think we have a chance to get our whole team to state,” the coach said. “I think we’d have to have a really good day, but I think it’s possible.”


Ellyssa Gallinger shot a 95 for seventh place and all-district honors to lead Kearney to a fifth-place finish.

Gallinger put together a 44 on the front nine before tallying a 51 on the back half to qualify herself for sectionals.

Makenzi Kutch was the second Bulldog finisher, shooting a 103 for 16th, one place out of all-district consideration.

Paige Ross finished in 28th place with a 117 while Sophia Martin carded a 125 for 37th place and Jessica Riley shot a 133 for 43rd place.


Mahlee Wohlford paced Smithville by turning in a 96 for eighth place and punching a ticket to sectionals.

Wohlford shot a 49 on the front and 47 on the back half of her home course, leading the Warriors to an eighth place finish in their first season competing in Class 2.

Brianna Lewis carded a 110 for 22nd place while Emma Harris and Mackenzie Moes both shot a 124 to tie for 35th place.

Jozie Kammler turned in a 138 to finish in 47th place.

Sports Editor Adam Burns can be reached at or 389-6643.

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