Van Meter girls golf wins second state title, Carey wins school's first individual state title

Megan Teske
Special to Dallas County News
Members of the Van Meter girls golf team pose for a photo after claiming the Class 2A state title in Marshalltown. Front row, Jenna Linde (Mgr), Regan Bernhardt (Fr), Dani Jones (Fr), Emma Bruins (Fr), Kaylie Golwitzer (Jr). Back row, Mike Linde (Head Coach), Kylie Carey (Sr), London Wille (Sr), Shae Bernhardt (Jr), Addison Boughton (Assistant Coach).

The Van Meter girls golf team became state champions once again when the Bulldogs won the Class 2A state meet June 2.

The Bulldogs claimed first overall with a team score of 691 over the course of two days and 18 holes for the team's second title in four years. Van Meter won their last title in 2018.

Head coach Mike Linde said seniors Kylie Carey and London Wille came to play, while junior Shae Bernhardt and freshman Regan Bernhardt also played really well.

Wille said the reason the Bulldogs are so successful is because of how the team encourages each other. 

“I think we have a good mental state because we’re not competing with each other but against other teams,” she said. “And we’re excited when our team does good.”

Van Meter had two of the top three finishers at the state meet, with Carey grabbing the individual championship at a score of 155 total while Wille picked up third at a total score of 157.

Wille said to get third place was not something she expected, and after getting 12th and 16th her other two years, she was just hoping to be in the top 10.

“It was just completely surreal walking down that 18th hole, everybody waiting and cheering for me, I was almost in tears, it was fun,” Wille said.

Van Meter golfers compete during a meet earlier this season.

Carey’s first-place finish was the first individual state title for Van Meter.

Linde said Carey and Wille put a lot of time into the sport over the years and he couldn’t ask for a better finish for them in their senior year.

Winning the state championship as a team was exciting and surreal, and after Carey found out she won the state individual title, she couldn’t believe it.

“I had made this a dream my sophomore year, and it was so crazy to think that I could achieve this goal in life,” Carey said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to end it any other way.”

Carey added that winning made all the hard work pay off.

Linde said the title came down to the last few holes, and the way Carey kept calm in the moment was to just look at it as another hole.

Although both Carey and Wille said they were nervous, and even more so on day two of the tournament, Linde said they helped keep everyone else calm.

Linde said Carey and Wille have been leaders since their sophomore year and each has grown and matured so much since then.

“Kylie and London just have that special something about them,” Linde said. “They were so competitive with each other but they were so calm I think that rubbed off on the other girls as well.”

Carey and Wille have been playing golf for awhile, but both said they still saw improvement in themselves as the season went on.

Wille said she became more consistent and has practiced every summer, while Carey saw the most growth in the smarter choices she was making.

Although the season is done and the seniors are graduating, Linde said the team is not rebuilding, just reloading.

Van Meter freshman Emma Bruins competes during a golf meet earlier this season.

Van Meter will have five girls coming back who have played in a state championship meet. That experience, Linde said, will lay the foundation for a bright future. 

“The next thing is we come out next year and we establish the same goals,” he added.

Linde said the Bernhardts will be the top golfers for Van Meter next year and now that the team has won, they will expect to win next season.

As for Carey and Wille, Carey will be playing golf at Northwest Missouri State University while Wille plans to attend Iowa State and play golf on a club team.