In professional baseball, it would be akin to the signing of a prized free agent to an already promising team. In the world of high school athletics, the closest a team can come to that scenario is a fortunate break with a foreign exchange student.
West Johnston’s girls golf team has experienced just that this season when junior Monika Vidlickova joined its lineup. Adding the eight-year veteran golfer from Hlohovec, Slovakia, has made a promising Wildcat lineup even more potent.
West proved it Thursday afternoon, posting a school record low team score of 129 in a nine-hole match featuring all nine Johnston County schools and imports Rosewood and Pender County.
Vidlickova’s 2-over 38 on the front nine at Reedy Creek Golf Course, combined with a 45 from Preslee Honeycutt and Blair Koonce’s 46, gave West Johnston an easy 16-stroke victory over runner-up Clayton (145).
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
“Obviously, adding a player of Monika’s caliber has really helped us,” said West Johnston coach Mike Jacobs. “When you get a player who can be a top scorer added to your lineup, it just makes all of your other scores that much lower.
“With experienced players like Preslee and Blair in the lineup, we can be a team that continues to improve.”
Vidlickova’s round included five pars, three bogeys and a birdie at the par-5 seventh. She left her second shot on the seventh just short of the green, just missing the bunker, then chipped to within 10 feet and nailed the putt to get back to 1-over for her round. A bogey at the ninth left her 2-over for the afternoon.
“My drives were pretty consistent so I was real pleased with those,” Vidlickova said. “But I did have two 3-putts and those are not good. That’s always going to affect your score.”
One of those disappointing 3-putts for the junior standout came after she drove the green on the 218-yard, par-4 second hole.
“Everybody’s showing improvement each time out,” Jacobs said, “including our younger players like Megan (Britt), a freshman, who broke 60 today.”
Britt , Jacobs said, just picked up the game in June and shot a 57 on Thursday, Jacobs said.
Clayton’s Maryanna Byrd tied for second individually with a 41, while Olivia Hall added a 48 for the Comets, who edged out Rosewood, Smithfield-Selma, Corinth Holders and South Johnston in a tight battle for second.
Rosewood finished at 147, while Smithfield-Selma – which had won the first two Johnston County matches of the season – finished at 148. Haley Talton had a 44 for SSS, while Parker Watson shot 46.
Payton Labonte’s 43 led Corinth Holders (149) and Taylor Knott shot 51. South Johnston’s total was 152 with Sydney Wheeless pacing the Trojans at 9-over, 45. Rachael Wheeler shot 50 for the Trojans.
North Johnston shot 160 and was paced by Kayla Durham’s 50. Rachel Melton shot 57 to lead Princeton’s team total of 179. Pender County finished at 180.
Neuse Charter, which fielded only two golfers, was led by a 41 from McKenna Hammer, whose 5-over total matched that of Clayton’s Byrd.