Featuring 100 Women: The Iowa Girl

Four-time state champion, Jessie Sindlinger

Iowa’s Multi-State Champions Leave Lasting Legacy

Girls’ Golf has been a staple in Iowa since the mid-1950s and is recognized as one of the state’s oldest sanctioned sports for high school girls. Annually, girls’ golf has the highest number of participants per capita. It is no surprise that many have used their involvement as a springboard for future success. In the almost 70 years girls golf has been a part of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, hundreds of deserving champions have etched their names in history but just a few have captured multiple titles during their four years.

Jessie (Sindlinger) Schultz – Charles City

Jessie Sindlinger burst onto the Iowa golf scene in 2010 as a young freshman phenom for Charles City High School. Playing 3A golf had plenty of competition, but from 2010 until 2013, she was the player to beat. In the first 50 years of the championship’s history, just one player went undefeated at the state championship level. Sindlinger became the second at Ames Golf and Country Club that spring as she blitzed the field, capturing the title by eight strokes. With rain anticipated on day 2, Sidlinger made the most of the opening round eight under 65. While weather would ultimately shorten the event from 36 to 18 holes, Sindlinger admitted she was surprised with her opening round. Two years prior, the Charles City player had posted four under par 68 to mark the lowest championship round since 2005. Reflecting on her record-breaking 65 she said “I didn’t even know what I was at and I was just playing and counted them up at the end and was like ‘Wow, this is my best round ever’”. She joined Sharron Fladoos as the only other four-time medalist in state history in 2013. Sindlinger would later join Fladoos on another short list: a champion of both a high school state title and the Iowa Women’s Amateur.

Heading into her senior year on the University of Iowa Women’s Golf Team, Sindlinger was excited to see her home course of Finkbine play host to the 2016 Iowa Women’s Amateur. Her home course knowledge paid off as she captured the title convincingly by six strokes. Opening with the lone under-par round of the day, Sindlinger led by two over a pair of competitors including fellow Hawkeye Morgan Kukla. Stumbling with a second-round 75, Sindlinger returned to the championship form displayed in the first round as she posted just the second under-par round of the championship with a 71. “This was a good way to go out and play this well” she would later say. Her victory at the Iowa Women’s Amateur capped off the triple crown of Iowa titles having claimed two Junior Girls’ Amateurs.

Kendra (Hanson) Henningsen – Forest City

Kendra Hanson of Forest City High School found herself in contention every time she teed it up during her four years of high school golf. As a four-time 1st Team All-Conference and All-State honoree, it was no surprise to her fellow competitors when she captured the 2003 and 2004 High School Individual State title. Following her graduation in 2004, Hanson qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur to cap off her summer of stellar play.

As Hanson’s playing career developed, so did her skills around the green. After a lackluster 2006, she returned to the Iowa Women’s Amateur in 2007 with renewed excitement and a sharp short game. Her touch around the tricky greens at Spirit Hollow Golf Club paid off as she captured the Iowa Women’s Amateur by three shots. Hanson posted a pair of even-par 72s sandwiched around a one-over 73, to claim the title over Big 12 rival Abbi Sunner. The win allowed Hanson to join the exclusive group of Triple Crown holders in women’s golf history. Following a stint playing professionally, Hanson became a reinstated amateur and would later go on to be inducted to Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Victoria Grasso – Ankeny Christian Academy

Ankeny has long been known be a breeding ground for some of the state’s best players. With four courses within 5 miles and 3 within a half mile, it’s no surprise that many state champions called it home. In 2009, 2011, and 2012, it was home to Victoria Grasso as she claimed a trio of 1A individual state titles for Ankeny Christian Academy. Her lone season where she didn’t claim the title in 2010, she was the runner-up. Following ’09 and ’10 seasons, she was named the 1A Player of the Year. In 2012, Grasso’s final season proved to be her most dominant. She claimed the state title by 11 shots, further cementing her place in IGHSAU history.

Christi (Athas) Imsland – Eldora-New Providence

Christi Athas made her mark in high school golf at Eldora-New Providence (E-NP), where her talent shone brightly. She secured the overall state championship titles in 2001, 2002, and 2003, following a commendable third-place finish in Class 1A in 2000. Throughout her high school career, she earned the accolades of four-time all-conference, four-time district medalist, and three-time regional medalist. Notably, Athas holds an impressive array of records at E-NP, including the highest career medal count at 61 and the highest single-season medal count at 19.

Continuing to excel beyond the high school level, Athas qualified for prestigious events such as the USGA U.S. Women’s Amateur and the U.S. Women’s Publinks in both 2005 and 2006. Her high level of play was evident as she advanced through the first-round matches in both tournaments in 2005 and secured a commendable 17th place in the medal play at the 2005 U.S. Women’s Amateur. She also showcased her talent in two Women’s Trans National Championships in 2004 and 2005. Additionally, she secured back-to-back top three finishes at the 2005 and 2006 Iowa Women’s Amateur. Her efforts culminated in a 2009 induction to the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Athas continues to give back to the game by coaching high school boys golf at West Delaware and serving on many IGA committees.

Sarah Nacos – Washington High School

Sarah Nacos left her mark on Iowa high school girls’ golf. Of the four state tournaments Sarah played in, she won three of them in a commanding fashion. As a freshman, Sarah took home the 2015 Class 4A State Title at American Legion Golf Course, winning by seven strokes. As a sophomore, Sarah extended her winning margin by winning the title by nine strokes at Coldwater Golf Links. As a junior, Sarah left no question unanswered for who would win the individual title winning by an impressive 23 strokes at Elmwood Country Club. Although Nacos did not win State individually as a senior, she led her team to their third team title during her career in 2018 at Coldwater Golf Links with her sister, Anna Nacos. Nacos went on to play college golf at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. At Bradley, she accomplished the difficult task of studying biology while playing Division I college golf. Nacos was one of thirty MVC athletes recognized for their high character, community service, and good grades with the MVC Good Neighbor Award in 2021.

Annika (Patton) Powell – Alta-Aurelia

Annika (Patton) Powell of Aurelia, Iowa shows that golf in Iowa isn’t just important in the big cities. Patton had a notable junior career winning the Iowa Junior Girls’ Amateur back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. The title was not easy to claim in 2018 as the senior-to-be went into a play-off against Bailee Frayne. Patton was also a member of the Iowa team that competed in the Girls’ Four-State Championship in 2019 at Arbor Links in Nebraska City, which was the first year the event was played in a match-play format. The highlight of her junior career came in 2017 when she won the Class 2A Iowa High School State Golf Championship at Lake Panorama National Golf Course. After failing to defend her title in 2018, she came back in 2019 to capture the individual title by six shots at American Legion. Even more impressive than her margin of victory was her final round as she posted the lowest round of the event with an even-par 70.

While Annika was a strong junior player, she was recognized for her high character and community involvement with one of four Herman Sani Scholarships in 2019. The Sani Scholarship is the highest honor given to any junior golfer in Iowa and is an accomplished group of individuals. Annika continued to show her passion for Iowa golf by interning with the IGA in the summer of 2021. Annika continues to serve the game today in Iowa as she coaches the men’s and women’s golf teams at Buena Vista University with her husband Joe.

Chloe Bolte – Sumner-Fredericksburg

When she tees it up in the State Championship this year, Chloe Bolte will continue to chase history. The junior at Sumner-Fredericksburg has been the top player in 2A golf for during her freshman and sophomore years; it is for a good reason too. Coming into the 2022 IGHSAU State Tournament, Bolte had claimed three straight post-season medalist honors beginning with the North Iowa Conference League meet, then back-to-back victories at the sub-regional and regional sites. A first-round 75 found her trailing the overnight leader by three, but she had found a way to secure a spot in the final pairing of the day. After opening the final round with a front-nine score of 41, many thought her chances of capturing the state title had dwindled. Not Chloe, though. Closing with an impressive three-under-par 33, which included an eagle on the 17th, she worked her way into a playoff with Molly Fereday. A routine par on the first hole saw her capture her maiden state title, and put her in rarified air; the chance to join Sindlinger and Fladoos as a four-time individual state champion.

Returning in 2023, Bolte left little doubt and made the championship far less eventful as she posted back-to-back rounds in the 70s. Her first-round 75 was good for a four-shot lead overnight and once again a final group pairing. Posting a final round 77, Bolte further cemented herself in IGHSAU history.

Eden Lohrbach – Gilbert

Gilbert High School has produced two of the most dominant players in recent IGHSAU girl’s golf. First, it was Britta Snyder who claimed back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019. While her quest for number three was derailed during the 2020 season, but the following season another Gilbert player would pick up right where Snyder left off. Making her debut at the 3A Iowa High School State Tournament, Eden Lohrbach opened with a round of 76, good enough for a slim lead over Kiki Bruner of Washington High School. Her lead would extend as the final round continued, thanks in part to an even-par effort through the first 17 holes. Closing with her lone bogey on the final nine, she posted 73 to claim a two-stroke victory in her first state tournament. Falling short in a playoff during her sophomore campaign, Lohrbach bounced back in 2023 in dominant fashion. Posting rounds of 70-73, the Gilbert junior was the lone 3A player to finish the championship under par. Even with bogeys on her final two holes, it would not matter as she wound up collecting a five-shot win over Rebecca DeLong of Clear Lake. Lohrbach will be knocking on the door of her third individual title when she tees it up at this year’s championship.

IGHSAU Multi-State Champions

Sharon Fladoos – 4
Jessie Sindlinger – 4
Jacque Fladoos – 3
M.C. Mullen – 3
Christi Athas – 3
Victoria Grasso – 3
Sarah McMichael – 3
Emily Snelling – 3
Samantha Knight – 3
Sarah Nacos – 3
Andy Cohn – 2
Sue Harmon – 2
Barb Thomas – 2
Heather Deke – 2
Kylie Dirks – 2
Kenda Hanson – 2
Katie Purcell – 2
Paige VanDyk – 2
Susan Kirschenman – 2
Annika Patton – 2
Britta Snyder – 2
Eden Lohrbach – 2
Chloe Bolte – 2

Next Week on Women’s Wednesday…

Honoring the life and legacy of Celia Barquin Arozamena.

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