This time last year, Kapaun Mount Carmel girls golf coach Dan Phillips was dealing with a relative unknown. His team was inexperienced, having competed in only a handful of varsity tournaments.
Of course Phillips wanted the same kind of success his previous team had achieved — league and regional titles — but it wasn't going to be as sure of a thing.
Skip ahead to today, and Phillips can look back fondly on a group of kids that progressed significantly en route to City League and regional titles, plus a second-place finish at state.
"Everyone was in a new position and girls were forced to learn on the fly." Phillips said. "So I was pleased at how we progressed and accomplished our goals."
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Returning for the Crusaders this season are their two of their top scorers, Courtney Wells (89) and Kayla Rathert (94). Phillips expects Katie Staats and Katie Wells to be contributors as well.
"We're more experienced this year than last, so expectations are higher," Phillips said. "There is a different mindset with the girls so far."
Phillips wasn't ever going to change expectations for the program, which has won the City League 11 years in a row.
Still, making as much progress as last season's team did was a bit of a surprise.
That element of surprise won't be there for Kapaun this season. It has nearly its entire team back.
"We feel like if we play the way we are capable of, then we will be in the mix in every tournament we compete in," Phillips said. "We expect to contend for a city, regional and state championship."