For the first time in recent years, Bishop Carroll has no seniors leading its girls golf squad.
But coach Mark Berger said he’s excited about what the season holds, thanks to the return of two juniors and two sophomores with state tournament experience.
The Golden Eagles, third in the Class 5A tournament a year ago, will rely on underclassmen to replace graduated seniors Carly Hill and Madison Walden (fifth and ninth at state).
Sophomore Abby Sauber finished 25th at state as a freshman. The Eagles also return juniors Alexandra Lashley and Spencer Slane, as well as sophomore Shelbie Stuckey, all of whom placed in the top 60.
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“I’m really looking forward to this year and next,” Berger said. “It’s not by default that they’re there. They’ve done well.”
Berger said he has liked what he has seen in Carroll’s early practices.
“I think our worst score was a 46 (for nine holes),” he said. “I’d be pleased with being around 50 for nine holes.”
He said many of the players worked hard over the summer. That kind of diligence and dedication is paying off.
“From the first day we hit, I could see we’ve improved a ton,” Berger said. “They really want to work at it, and their work ethic is better.”
But not all is focused on golf, he said. There also is a time for fun.
“They’re not too serious, but it’s a pretty close-knit group,” Berger said. “I told them, ‘You four can do great things.’ They pretty much work together.”
Much of the benefit for this season was forged in hard work over the summer, Berger said.
“They’ve gotten a lot better, and they’re hitting the ball 40-50 yards farther,” he said.
Berger has two seniors and two sophomores vying for the No. 5 and No. 6 spots on the varsity.
Another element has been improved consistency, Berger said.
“They’re consistent on their ball-striking, but we need to get better on chipping and putting,” he said.
This year’s state tournament is at Consolver Golf Course in Wichita, a longer course that Berger said might favor his girls.
The challenge, as always, is getting there.
“That’s where we beat Kapaun (Mount Carmel, last year),” Berger said. “(Having state there) could be a good sign, but there’s a lot of season to go to get there.”
CITY LEAGUE SCHEDULE
3 – East, Southeast at Emporia Tournament. 4 – North, Kapaun Mount Carmel, Northwest, Mulvane, Maize, Valley Center, Andover Central, Derby, Winfield, Augusta, Circle, Collegiate, Eisenhower, Arkansas City, Andover at Andover Invitational, Braeburn Golf Course, Wichita State University, 9 a.m. 10 – City League at Northwest Tournament, Tex Consolver Golf Course, 3:30 p.m. 12 – Northwest, Andover Central, Bishop Carroll, Eisenhower, Maize, Arkansas City, Newton, Circle, Derby, Arkansas City at Winfield Tournament. 16 – City League at Kapaun Mount Carmel Tournament, Braeburn Golf Course, 3:30 p.m. 24 – City League at Bishop Carroll Tournament, Auburn Hills Golf Course, 3:30. 26 – Bishop Carroll, East, Kapaun Mount Carmel, Derby, Winfield at Arkansas City Tournament. 30 – City League at East Tournament, MacDonald Golf Course.
2 – Bishop Carroll, East, Heights, Kapaun Mount Carmel, Northwest, Southeast, Dodge City, Goddard, Maize, Valley Center, Andover, Andover Central, Maize South, Collegiate, North at Redskin Open, Sim Park Golf Course, 1 p.m. 7 – Southeast, Hutchinson, Eisenhower, Maize, Arkansas City, Winfield, Andover, Mulvane, Newton at Derby Tournament, 3 p.m. 8 – City League Tournament at Sim Park Golf Course, noon; AVCTL Division I Tournament, Salina; AVCTL Division II Tournament, Hesston. 14 – Class 6A regionals at Southeast, Clapp Golf Course; at Hutchinson, Carey Park Golf Course, at Garden City, times TBA; Class 5A regionals at Arkansas City and Hays, times TBA