La PORTE -- Rounds of golf on Fridays are nothing new to Daniela Bellido.
"That's why when I'm back in Spain, I'd always miss school on Fridays," the Marquette freshman said. "I'd play a (practice) round on Friday, then we'd have the tournament on Saturday."
Much like last those warm-up rounds back home, last week's Pat Ford Invite at Beechwood served as a valuable learning experience for Bellido, who took seven shots off of that 18-hole score in Friday's La Porte Sectional to post a three-over-par 77, one shot off medalist Reece Wilson of Culver Academy.
"I knew where to go. That was very important." Bellido said. "There are some par fives that could be par fours, so it's an opportunity to get a birdie. I knew I could get it and I needed to know where I had to go to get it."
Bellido's steady round featured one birdie, four bogeys and 13 pars.
"I would consider it regular. I was just having fun. I was with two very friendly players," Bellido said. "When I play in Spain, there is much more pressure. It's a series of tournaments and you have to do seven-over or less in four of them to get to the national tournament. Here, whatever you do, it doesn't matter, it's for fun. I was very hopeful of getting to the regional."
Michigan City's Taylor Skibinski finished two shots back of Bellido in third overall with a 79. The defending sectional champion improved three shots from last year's winning round and was two off her personal best for the course.
"I should've been even on the back. I had three three-putts and those were all my bogeys," Skibinski said. "I hit it pretty good. I started off rough. I had a double, but I was like, OK, it's the first hole, it's over with, I have 17 more. I wanted to shoot in the 70s. That was my goal."
Skibinski's round featured a five bogeys, a double and two birdies.
"Taylor, even when she had a couple hiccups, she didn't allow it to bring the rest of her round down," Wolves coach Drew White said. "She was very consistent, but she'd be the first to tell you she has some things she's not doing very well."
City, which won its first team title a year ago, was second to Culver Academy, 339-354, with John Glenn (384) third.
"I knew we had our work cut out for us," White said. "Culver is just that good. It was their tournament. Truthfully, I think it was Culver, then us, then the rest of the pack. Two years ago, we weer third, last year, we were first, now we're second. They've got one ribbon of every color, so they've filled the collection."
Both Lia Thomas and Sara Poulin shot 87, the round representing a career-best 18 for Poulin. It was the same for Caroline Kearney's 101.
"I'm proud of specifically Sara and Caroline," White said. "Those were the kinds of rounds if we were going to have a puncher's chance that we needed and Caroline exceeded what we thought we were going to need. Lia struggled. You're going to have those matches. Even the best golfers, it's not always going to be a walk in the park. That's what makes it the game of golf. She wasn't on, but ultimately she'll become a better golfer because of it. You have to experience that adversity, working through your struggles. She's still a young kid and that's not always the easiest thing to do. She can't be upset, hold her head down. If she was going to have a bad round, this was the week. (The regional) is what she's been aiming at all year. She wants to get back to Prairie View."
New Prairie missed out on a team berth, finishing 11 shots behind Glenn with a 395, but qualified both freshman Jaiden Winters (87) and sister Jordan (90) individually.
"Everybody but one had a personal best for 18 and one of them tied, so I can't complain," coach Bruce Watson said. "I told them if we were below 400, we've got a chance. Both (Winters girls) are really good, hard-working, dedicated kids. It was a struggle out there. They had to work for it. They kept their cool."
Jordan, who also qualified last season, rebounded from a 102 at the Pat Ford for her best round at Beechwood.
"This was way better than last week," she said. "I usually do struggle here. There are so many trees, I have to keep the ball more in the fairway. My drives tend to go left and right. I had to keep things more narrow."
Jaiden sought her sister out Thursday night for a friendly word of advice and Jordan told her, "Don't get worked up about it. It's just another round of golf. It's not anything different."
"There were a few shots I needed a little more club, a little less club, but other than that, I thought I played pretty good," Jaiden said. "I basically took (last Friday's) round as practice. Toward the end of the season, I was thinking maybe the team, but this was mainly my goal the whole season."
Marquette (414) was fifth, followed by La Porte (sixth, 427) and South Central (eighth, 528). Jayme Noll's 102 led the Slicers, two better than Gabby Hull. Eve Masson had a 117 for the Satellites.
Michigan City, Bellido and the Winters sisters will play in the Battle Ground Regional next Saturday.
La Porte Sectional
Team: Michigan City (2nd, 354)
Individual: Daniela Bellido (Marquette, 77); Jaiden Winters (New Prairie, 87); Jordan Winters (New Prairie, 90)