SYRACUSE – It has been three years since the Wawasee girls golf team last tasted regional competition. Three long years.
Since that last regional trip in 2011, the Lady Warriors have experienced nothing but heartbreak as a team in the postseason, finishing fourth in each of the past two sectionals.
Wawasee enters 2014 with no plans of disappointment. Elizabeth Jackson and Mikala Mawhorter return at the top of the lineup for the Lady Warriors and look to help get their team over the hump this year.
Mawhorter, a junior, has qualified as an individual for the regional each of the past two seasons. Jackson, a senior, went in 2011 with the team and qualified for regional last year. Both girls will again be called upon to lead Wawasee, but the load will not be as heavy as it has in years past as the team returns an improved core of players.
Wawasee finally has a solid group of experienced players to compete at the three through five spots. The seasoned roster is something Wawasee head coach Steve Coverstone can be excited about entering the 2014 campaign.
“We have a ton of experience and depth coming back this season,” said Coverstone. “We’re hoping to have a pretty good year with Elizabeth and Mikala back in the top two spots for us and a nice group of girls behind them.
“Everyone has been putting in work over the summer and I’ve seen a lot of improvement in swings and putting from our girls. We have a goal to get out of sectional and I think we can definitely do that with the group we have.”
Success starts at the top and Coverstone’s senior class is a mixed bag of talent. Jackson headlines the group but overall the coach expects to see good things from his three departing players.
“We have a good group of seniors with Elizabeth, Courtney (McDaniel) and Megan (Goralczyk),” Coverstone remarked. “Courtney has put in a lot of work over the summer and Megan made one of the best one-year improvements that I have seen with her jump from her sophomore to junior year.
“I really hope to see some good scores from this group this season.”
McDaniel and Goralczyk will be fighting for positioning in the last three varsity spots along with juniors Kamryn Foy and Kylee Rostochak and sophomores Madison Beaman and Aubrey Schmeltz.
All six of the players saw varsity time last season, with the majority of it being split between Rosotchak, Schmeltz and McDaniel.
The Lady Warriors have a long road ahead of them before their shot at sectional success. Wawasee will start its journey Tuesday with a round at Columbia City.
The first home match for Wawasee will be the second annual Wawasee Invitational, held at South Shore Golf Club. Wawasee and South Shore will also host the 2014 Northern Lakes Conference Championships in September. All other home matches will be played at Maxwelton Golf Club.
Warsaw Hoping For Big Moves With Small Numbers
The Warsaw girls golf team had some reloading to do before the start of the 2014 season.
After losing three golfers to graduation, including 2013 State Finals participant Nikki LaLonde, The Lady Tigers had quite a large gap to fill on the varsity roster. Thankfully first-year head coach Ray Davis has a few pieces coming back that should keep the Lady Tigers on par with their successful tradition.
The Orange and Black return seniors Alexis Manwaring and Kristen Watson as well as sophomore Madi Graham. All three girls spent the majority of 2013 on the varsity roster and will bring the experience needed to keep Warsaw competitive this season.
Manwaring competed at State with Warsaw in her freshman year and will be the lead golfer on this year’s team. Davis knows experience in every aspect of the game will be key for his team’s success.
“We have a variety of tough courses on our schedule,” Davis said. “A few of our girls went out this summer and got to play on a few of those courses to get a feel for them. Getting comfortable with playing away from Stonehenge will be important for us.”
Davis is looking forward to several meets in 2014 for his girls, one in particular is the East Noble Invite at Noble Hawk this coming Saturday. Noble Hawk hosts the IHSAA Regional and will give the Tigers a good feel for the course. The sectional will again be hosted by Stonehenge.
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Jennings Leads Triton Into 2014
Despite finishing eighth in last year’s sectional, the Triton golf team has a lot to look forward to with its top golfer returning.
Hannah Jennings will reprise her roll atop the Trojan lineup in hopes of leading the team to a better finish in both conference and sectional. All eyes will be on Jennings as she will also look to advance to the regional again.
In the 2013 sectional Jennings played some of her best golf and would get out of the sectional as an individual with an 89.
Jennings and Triton begin 2014 Monday night at Stonehenge against Warsaw and Rochester.
Whitko, Bishop Hoping For Better Ending In 2014
April Bishop carried the Whitko girls golf team in 2013 and the swingers from South Whitley will need her to do the same in 2014 if they want finishing better than 10th at the sectional.
Whitko shot a 478, finishing last in the sectional field. Bishop had an off day with a 102, but the now senior showed plenty of talent and promise throughout the regular season and will need to access that potential to help Whitko move up in the standings this year.
Sophomore Kennedy Krull will also provide a big boost to Whitko as she returns to the varsity roster.
Bishop averaged a score of 51.8, lowest on her team. She will need to drop several strokes if she wants to make her senior year a memorable one.
Whitko will start its season on Thursday when it hosts Concord and Wawasee.
Tippecanoe Valley Looking For More Depth
2013 is a season that the members of the Tippecanoe Valley golf team would like to put behind them. The team only had four golfers compete at the sectional.
Despite the low numbers, Valley still managed to beat out rival Whitko with a score of 471. 2014 will continue to present problems for the Vikings but some returning talent will help give Valley some of the experience it lacked last year.