The Courier » Girls Golf Preview: New programs taking root

Girls Golf Preview: New programs taking root

RANDY ROBERTS / The Courier
NORTH BALTIMORE’S JORDAN BUCHER watches her tee shot during last year’s Division III sectional girls golf tournament. Bucher is one of two Tigers back from last year’s sectional championship team.

The popularity of girls high school golf at the local level is steadily increasing.

The season nine area schools will field full girls golf teams this fall, including new programs at Patrick Henry, Hopewell-Loudon and Upper Sandusky.

The keyword for most area teams this fall will be inexperience.

North Baltimore is coming off a sectional championship and returns just two players in seniors Jaden Bucher (47.0 average) and Lilly Westgate (51.0).

At Van Buren, veteran coach Rhonda Nye’s Black Knights were hit hard by graduation. She’ll be building her lineup around a couple of solid players in all-Northwest Ohio Girls Golf League performer senior Olivia Sexton (45.0) and Findlay Area Golf Association Player of the Year sophomore Taylor Adams (47.0).

A couple of other area players to watch include Bluffton three-time district qualifier Alivia Koenig and Patrick Henry senior Natalie Nelson, who is also a returning district qualifier.


Bluffton

  • HEAD COACH: Nick Rackley (4th year, 54-12).
  • 2017 DUAL MATCH RECORD/LEAGUE FINISH: 16-6/No conference.
  • HOME COURSE: Bluffton Golf Club.
  • RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Alivia Koenig, sr.; Kennedy Coughlin, sr.; Mara Minnig, sr.
  • TOP PROSPECTS: Olivia Spallinger, soph.; Allison Burghaze, soph.; Jordyn Garmatter, fr.; Melina Menza, fr.; Kailyn Goodman, soph.
  • NOTABLE: It’s the fourth season of girls golf at Bluffton and with the core of last year’s group returning the Pirates are seeking to jump from districts to state as a team. Senior Alivia Koenig is a three-time district qualifier and classmates Kennedy Coughlin, the team’s captain, and Mara Minnig also return with experience at the district level.

Elmwood

  • HEAD COACH: Kyle McKibben (5th year).
  • 2017 DUAL MATCH RECORD/LEAGUE FINISH: 3-5/4th in Northern Buckeye Conference.
  • HOME COURSE: Birch Run Golf Course.
  • RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kaylie Kingery, soph., 54.9 average; Taylor Tyson, jr., 55.6; Hayley Zimmerman, jr., 56.8; Abi Lee, soph., 65.3.
  • TOP PROSPECTS: Solanna Riddle, fr.
  • NOTABLE: The Royals will start the season with just five players. Tyson netted first-team all-conference honors last season while Zimmerman (second team) and Kingery (honorable mention) were also all-NBC.

Hopewell-Loudon

  • HEAD COACH: Mike Rietzke (4th year).
  • 2017 DUAL MATCH RECORD/LEAGUE FINISH: Not available.
  • HOME COURSE: Loudon Meadows Golf Course.
  • RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: None.
  • TOP PROSPECTS: Morgan Searles,. jr.; Kasey Thompson, jr.; Olivia Zender, fr.; Abbey Yarris, fr.; Hannah Fought, fr.
  • NOTABLE: After some individual success on the girls side, Hopewell-Loudon will be able to field a full girls team this season.

Leipsic

  • HEAD COACH: Kevin Brandt (11th year).
  • 2017 DUAL MATCH RECORD/LEAGUE FINISH: 4-11/No conference affiliation.
  • HOME COURSE: Pike Run Golf Course.
  • RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Hannah Goedde, sr.,, 54.0 average; Jala Hazelton, sr., 67; Morgan Kamphaus, jr., 63; Maddie Walther, soph., 67; Ella Rigel, soph., 80.
  • TOP PROSPECTS: None.
  • NOTABLE: Not much depth with just five golfers in Leipsic’s third year with a girls golf program. But all five return and Brandt expects to see much of the same improvement his girls showed as the season developed last year.

North Baltimore

  • HEAD COACH: Kathi Bucher (3rd year)
  • 2017 DUAL MATCH RECORD/LEAGUE FINISH: Not available.
  • HOME COURSE: Birch Run Golf Course.
  • RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jordan Bucher, sr., 47.0 average; Lilly Westgate, sr., 51.0.
  • TOP PROSPECTS: Jordan Baker, jr.; Zoey Beaupry, jr.; Meghan Thompson, soph.; Lexi Long, soph.; McKenzie Perez, soph.; Olivia Matthes, fr.
  • NOTABLE: North Baltimore lost four seniors to graduation last spring. Bucher returns after leading the Tigers with a 47.0 average and helping them win the school’s first ever sectional title.

Patrick Henry

  • HEAD COACH: Linda Hummer (1st year).
  • 2017 DUAL MATCH RECORD/LEAGUE FINISH: First year.
  • HOME COURSE: Pike Run Golf Course.
  • RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Natalie Nelson, sr., district qualifier; Shelby Fackler, sr.; Sarah Millikan, jr.
  • TOP PROSPECTS: Emily Wright, jr.; Brandi Arnold, soph.
  • NOTABLE: The Patriots will have a full girls team for the first time in a number of years. Linda Hummer is the team’s new coach and Natalie Nelson returns for her senior year after qualifying for districts and earning all-district honors last season.

Upper Sandusky

  • HEAD COACH: Graham Treadway (12th year).
  • 2017 DUAL MATCH RECORD/LEAGUE FINISH: Not available.
  • HOME COURSE: Lincoln Hills Golf Course.
  • RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: None.
  • TOP PROSPECTS: Katie Conley, sr.; Hally Courtad, sr.; Grace Sayre, sr.; Olivia Barth, jr.; Katie Clark, jr.; Kendra Conley, fr.; Annea Bjorkquist, sr., exchange student.
  • NOTABLE: Upper Sandusky will field a full girls golf team for the first time in school history this season.

Van Buren

  • HEAD COACH: Rhonda Nye (11th year).
  • 2017 DUAL MATCH RECORD/LEAGUE FINISH: 10-15/Not available.
  • HOME COURSE: Red Hawk Run Golf Course.
  • RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Olivia Sexton, sr., 45.0 average; Taylor Adams, soph., 47.
  • TOP PROSPECTS: Kaila Bowen, soph.; Grace Heitkamp, soph.; Ali Bishop, fr.; Kendra Odenweller, fr.; Taylor Stewart, fr.; Charlotte Youngpeter, fr.
  • NOTABLE: The Black Knights will be on the inexperienced side this year but they’ll have a pair of solid players to build around in Sexton and Adams. Sexton was second team all-Northwest Ohio Girls Golf League a year ago while Adams won the Findlay Area Golf Association’s girls player of the year award this summer.


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