Girls Golf Season Preview

Girls golf season gets underway at Harrison Hills

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The day has finally arrived. The 2022-23 sports season in Montgomery county officially gets underway Monday as all three girls golf teams begin their seasons at the Seeger Invitational at Harrison Hills in Attica. Crawfordsville, Southmont, and North Montgomery are all looking for a successful start to their seasons. Of course the Mounties will return last year’s JR Golfer of the year and state finalist Addison Meadows, while the Athenians return nearly everyone from last season, while the Chargers will be under the direction of Bob Ryker who took over the golf program in the spring with the boys. Let’s take an in-depth look at each team as they are set to begin their seasons.

Mounties looking to maintain yearly success

The Southmont girls golf program has had sustained success under coach Bill Whalen. Multiple regional appearances and even a sectional championship have allowed the Mounties to be the team to beat in the county for the last several years. With the departure of their 2-4 golfers a season ago in Bailey Barker, Macie Shirk, and Taylor Grino, the Mounties will have to rely on some new faces stepping up.

Southmont does return Meadows who after her historic freshman season, will be looking to make it back to the state finals. The Mounties also return Stella Snook. While Whalen normally knows what to expect heading into a season, this year he says things are a little different.

“I honestly don’t know what to expect in these first couple of meets,” he said. “When you lose your two, three, and four from last year, it’s going to be a challenge to replace that. However, they are going to get their feet wet very quickly because after the along with the Seeger Invite, on Wednesday we go to Tipton Invitational and that will have Carmel and Westfield in it. We’re going to find out what they’re made of here early on.”

Meadows was just one of eight freshman who qualified for the State Finals and the only freshman to play as individual a season ago. She’ll be relied on again to lead the Mounties and Whalen knows she’s up for the challenge.

“I’d hate to even think how many tournament’s she’s played in this summer,” he said of Meadows. “It seems like she’s out there every single day working to get better. For her individually it’ll be a little tougher getting out now that they’re only taking two individuals instead of the five that they took last year. She has the talent to get back to the State Finals, no question.”

Athenians have depth & experience in 2022

Last season was more of a learning year for Crawfordsville under coach Tony Thomas. The end of the season saw CHS playing without their No. 1 in Sadie Walker which forced others to step up. This year the Athenians will have everyone back from last year and have plenty of numbers with 11 total girls on the team. Along with Walker returning, Carli Payne, Christen Saunders, Nancy Blanchard, and McKenzie Wilson also all return and will likely round out top five for CHS.

“We really showed a lot of improvement the final few weeks of last year and we are hoping that carries over,” Thomas said. “This year we’ve been able to add some new girls along with having four freshman so that gives us some numbers that we can rely on.”

CHS along with both the Mounties and Chargers will get to begin the season by playing 18 holes right out of the gate. While it may be challenge conditioning wise while also playing on a tough Harrison Hills course, the experience that all three teams will gain, Thomas says will only pay off in the long run.

“Sadie said it last year and I agreed with her that it helped us set the pace for the season,” Thomas said. “It really makes playing nine holes feel like a walk in the park. I think their all excited, eager, and ready to get out there.”

Coming into the season, Thomas has three goals for his team. While everyone does want to win as many meets and matches as they can, that’s not at the top of his list as he explains.

“At our parent meeting I told the parents that the first and foremost goal that I have for the girls is to simply have fun,” he said. “If they don’t have fun, then they won’t want to come back and obviously we want them to keep coming back year after year. The second goal is to simply improve from the beginning to the end of the year. I put winning as my third goal and there is a little incentive to win especially for Sadie’s class. With six wins they’d have the third most wins in school history, so that would be nice to see as well.”

Ryker to begin first season with Girls program

After what many considered an exceptional first season leading the North Montgomery boys team, Bob Ryker will now begin his first season leading the girls this fall. Just like last spring, Ryker is keeping his goals simple with the Chargers as the begin their 2022 campaign.

“It’s just about improving every single day and at every single meet and hopefully being able to play our best golf at the end of the season,” he said. “I’ve really liked what I’ve seen form them so far when we’ve been on the driving range. Their making good contact with the ball and getting better starts with repetition.”

Coming into the first meet of the season there are always a lot of un-knowns. With only being around the girls for a short time so far, Ryker like Whalen, isn’t sure what to expect but does have some things that he’d like to see from his team to being the year.

“I’d like to see how they handle a little adversity in the first meet when things don’t quite go their way,” he said. “Overall Harrison Hills is a challengin course and I want to see how we handle it, because that will be the course we play on come sectional time. I’d love for them to just have a good first match, that’s all I can really ask for.”

All three schools are expected to tee off around 8:30 Monday morning. 

High school sports is officially back and it should be yet another exciting fall sports season.

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