It’s no fault of their own, but the girls golfers begin the season as the calendar flips from July to August, and the 2012-13 sports season is now upon us all. August 1 saw area golfers hit the links, and with it, new faces in new places as teams scramble to gather identities and organization.
Wawasee has one of the more unique dynamics for girls golf in the area, losing its top two golfers from a season ago to graduation, and returning just one senior, Alex Goralczyk, as its lone upperclassman. From there, its only sophomores and freshmen, but could be one of the surprise teams come mid-September at tournament time.
Goralczyk does have two years of varsity experience, but golfed in less than 75 percent of Wawasee’s matches last fall. Leading Wawasee’s charge should be sophomore Elizabeth Jackson, who assumed the No. 1 position in the season opener at Whitko. Jackson golfed in every Wawasee varsity match as a freshman, including all three postseason tournaments.
Wawasee’s only other varsity experience will come from sophomore Courtney McDaniel, who joined the varsity at mid-season a year ago but did golf the conference, sectional and regional tournaments. Cracking the varsity five to open the season are freshmen Mikala Mawhorter and Kylee Rostochak. Mawhorter was the medalist (44) in the triangular with Whitko and Concord on Wednesday.
“It seems to be a lot more unpredictable in girls golf,” Wawasee head coach Steve Coverstone stated in trying to figure expectations. “You never know what you will get from day to day. There is seemingly a big variation, and that comes with a lot of girls not playing as much. It’s just something you deal with.”
While Wawasee will have to grow into its experience, Warsaw certainly knows what it takes to sustain success. The roster will certainly have experience with Nikki LaLonde, Alexis Manwaring and Morgan Sands leading as varsity returners, but with two valuable pieces to its puzzle to graduation and personal reasons, it should not be a cake walk through the Northern Lakes Conference or Warsaw Sectional. Warsaw were undefeated last year in NLC play and won its seventh sectional over Rochester and Wawasee by 11 strokes at its home course, Stonehenge.
Whitko will have some work to do to keep up with the bigger schools in the Warsaw Sectional, but does have some senior leadership in Hannah Himes, Taylor Pottinger and Emily Weigold. The Lady Wildcats also have a sophomore, April Bishop, golfing in the No. 1 position to open the season.
Triton and Tippecanoe Valley both struggled last year, finishing well off the sectional pace, but should be encouraged by plenty of returning experience.