Lady 'Canes golf looks for return trip downstate
Last fall, the Marian Central Catholic girls golf team qualified for the IHSA state tournament for the first time in school history. Returning members of the team are hoping for a repeat, but the team has been moved from Class A to 2A, making a repeat trip more difficult.
“Moving up to 2A, the competition will be harder,” said senior Claire Castetter. “We need to play each match as it comes and play the best we can. It will take a lot of hard work. The class we’re in is very tough.”
Castetter, Sam Leicht and Emily Olivera are the three returning seniors from last year’s team and also are the team captains. Leicht said the experience of being to the state tournament will be beneficial.
“Having been there will help,” Leicht said. “We know what to expect. It still will be nerve racking but at least we will be familiar with the situation and we can concentrate on our play and not worry about our competitors.”
The team moved back to class 2A because they had two regional wins in the past seven years.
“It’s going to be very difficult,” said Lady ’Canes head coach Paula Watson. “I don’t know if we’ll have the same success, but I have high hopes that we’ll make it. It will be challenging as a team but we have individuals who [could qualify].”
Watson, in her second year, said she has been impressed with how her seniors have played so far.
“They’re playing very well through tryouts – very strong, very consistent,” she said. “I’m excited to have all three of them back.”
The team has 13 total members. Watson will designate a junior varsity team in the near future. New to the team is senior Cassie Weck, who had previously played volleyball, and is playing for the first time. Watson said she is “showing great promise.”
According to Watson, the team has three levels of experience this year and she said he has goals for each level.
“I’d like to see my strong golfers make it all the way through regionals and sectionals to state, if not as a team, then as individual competitors,” she said. “I would like to see my middle golfers up their game and approach the level of the senior varsity golfers. I would like to see the new girls catch on to the sport —learn the rules, the game, the process, the whole package. I’d like to see them emulate what their upperclassmen are doing.”
Other than the tougher competition in Class 2A, Watson said she feels this year should be easier.
“Last year, we had a new coach, we were unfamiliar with the process and we had a lot of change on the team,” she said. “This year, the level of competition will be tougher, but I really don’t see any hurdles.
“We’re more focused this year. There is a lot more insight to offer, just having the girls talk about the trip to state. The girls are hearing about it and know it can happen. It’s motivating, it opens up the horizon.”
The rest of the team includes juniors Amy Larson, Ellen Koscielniak, Katie McConville and Brianna Olson; sophomores Emily Johnson and Kenzie Mocogni; and freshmen MiaBelle McNeill, Megan Merryman and Kacie Nelson.