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The Grant County High School girls’ golf team barely missed qualifying as a team for the state tournament last season.
This season, they plan to make up for last season’s finish and are setting a goal of finishing first in the region.
“We’ve got the same basic team we’ve had the last three years, only losing senior Lindsey Shipp,” coach Marcus Camacho said. “I’ve always got high expectations of the girls because we’ve been together for so long. They’re still young, age-wise, but they’re veterans on the course.”
The team has four juniors, along with freshman Sarah Kellam.
“I’d put Sarah in the top two or three on our team,” Camacho said. “She’s worked pretty hard this summer and she’s made good strides to make her score come down.”
While Kellam will be relied on as a freshman, Camacho will also count on his juniors, Kodi Hall, Katie Harrison, Emily Puckett and Chandler Smith.
“Kodi finished as our number one player last year and just missed qualifying for state as an individual,” Camacho said. “She wants some vindication for that and finish high as an individual. Katie also started as a seventh grader and was virtually tied with Kodi throughout the season. She’s struggled at times this summer, but is getting her swing back the way it should be. I’m looking for her to help out the team.
“Emily has been working hard and she’s been working at Eagle Creek, giving her the opportunity to play a little more than she normally has been. She hits the ball further than anyone on the team. Her short game is a little suspect, but she’s coming on pretty good. Chandler took a year off and is coming back,” he said.
Macy Wright, a seventh grader, could also break into the team’s top five, Camacho said.
“Macy played well last year in a couple of the tournaments I put her in,” he said. “She’s coming on strong and is just a great athlete. She plays so many sports, it’s hard to concentrate on one. She could be a pleasant surprise.”
Camacho has worked with the high school golfers since they were in seventh grade and is familiar with their games and their personalities.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Camacho said. “I love these girls to death and wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. I treat them like my daughters and have a close association with all of them. By the same token, it puts me at a disadvantage because I hate to get onto them very hard about doing things because I’m so close to them. I may have to hammer down this year to get them re-focused.”
The team remembers last year’s finish and plan to qualify for state this year.
“My goal is to win the region,” Camacho said. “I felt like we should have won it last year. I hope that they don’t worry about what other people are doing and focus on what they’re doing. When you start worrying about what your opponent is doing and don’t worry about what you’re doing, you get yourself in trouble.”
The girls have played a lot this summer, working to improve on the weaknesses in their games.
“Making mistakes is a part of the game, but if you don’t learn from them, you’ll make the same mistakes again,” Camacho said. “If they can learn from their mistakes, they’ll cut down on them. We’ll use our tournaments as ‘spring training.’ They only one that counts is the region tournament. We’ll use our season to develop.”