DEWITT — Audrey McAleer, Emily Swanson and Alyssa Eden each have a sibling on the Central DeWitt boys golf team, a program seeking a third consecutive state championship later this week in Fort Dodge.

With that success, it is easy for the girls squad to be overshadowed.

For the second time in coach Troy Steffens' 12-year tenure, the Sabers are sending a girls team to the state tournament.

Spurred by four sub-100 scores, Central DeWitt finished second at the Class 3A regional Monday on its home course at Springbook Country Club.

Washington, led by medalist Kiki Guo's 78, prevailed at the 12-team region with a 371 total. Central DeWitt took the second spot with a 379 total, 17 strokes clear of third-place Davenport Assumption.

"We were a couple strokes short last year and that was disappointing," Swanson said. "We had everybody returning, so we had a lot of confidence coming in this year. That was our goal.

"We didn't want that feeling we had last year."

The 36-hole state tournament will be May 28-29 at Otter Creek Golf Course in Ankeny, the same venue Steffens took his last state tournament team to in 2012.

The Sabers rely on their balance. McAleer led the way with an 88, followed by Swanson (96), Kara Duffy (97) and Eden (98).

"Consistency is the key for us," Steffens said. "We're not going to have anybody go low, but if we can get everybody between 90 to 95, we'll be in most meets. That's what we depend on."

Like the boys teams, many of the girls live at or near the course. McAleer has been playing since she was 3 years old.

"We'll stay out here until 9:30 at night putting and practicing," McAleer said.

Steffens said the boys team's success has invigorated his girls.

"Definitely a motivating factor," he said. "It gets them more involved when you have someone else who is willing to go out and play and push you."

Central DeWitt lost to Assumption twice during the regular season.

"We knew they were going to be here, so that pushed us to come out and get better every day since then," McAleer said.

Assumption did qualify two individuals in senior Olivia Leinart and junior Grace Frommelt. Leinart was the runner-up with an 85 while Frommelt tied for sixth with a 96.

Leinart recovered from a 46 on the front nine, which included a triple bogey on the opening hole, with a 39 on the closing nine.

Springbrook Country Club features several elevation changes. The back side is flatter and open.

"I was a lot more focused, and I knew I needed to play better than I did on the front," she said. "So I had a little motivation.

"There is more thinking you have to do on the front side."

It will be Leinart's second consecutive trip to state.

"I have a chip on my shoulder because I didn't play my best last year at state," she said. "It is motivation for me to shoot my best score next week."

Maquoketa's Carlene Paul also qualified for state with a 96.

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Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.