CLAYTON — Last season the Northmont girls golf team finished second in the Central Division of the Greater Western Ohio Conference with a 4-1 division mark and 10-5 record overall.
The team is poised to repeat last year’s success and then some with a wealth of returning experienced players. The team has 11 returning players. New faces include sophomore Courtney Gibson, junior Caroline Alexander and freshman Delaney Schmidt.
The team features three senior co-captains Sarah Avdakov, Britney Hansard and Emma Saltsman. Other seniors include Blake Johnson, Maggie Laing, and Heaven McDowell. Caroline Alexander and Mallorie Terrill are the two juniors. Sophomores include Amara Tipple, Hannah Toth, Ashley Smith, Morgan Sterner, Courtney Gibson and Madelin Jaehanen. The lone freshman is Delaney Schmidt.
Three players have three years of varsity experience – Saltsman, Hansard and Avdakov. Amara Tipple, Morgan Sterner and Hannah Toth have two years of experience.
“We seem to have more girls that are committed to improving their games on this year’s team,” said Coach Vivian Bibler. “They have worked hard over the summer and I kind of look for the fifth and sixth position on varsity to switch back and forth because I have some girls on junior varsity that didn’t qualify as well as I had anticipated, but I think they will make that improvement during the season. As we play more and more they are going to improve and we go week-by-week on our averages and we will move players up as they play better.”
The team is carrying eight players on the junior varsity, any one of which could move up as their play improves.
Once again Centerville will be the team to beat in the Central Division. Northmont should have no problem being the No. 2 team in the division, but Bibler pointed out that the team is still trying to get four players scoring in the forties in each match.
“In our last match at Greenville we had one player score in the forties, Emma Saltsman, and she wasn’t the one that usually scores in the forties,” she said. “She turned around in practice and shot a 39. I have four players that have shot in the forties, it just doesn’t seem to be happening at the same time, so we are looking forward to doing that during the season this year as well as getting one of the girls to score in the thirties.”
The game of golf can be a juggernaut as you never know what part of a player’s game is going to be on and what part won’t be on.
“Our focus is one shot at a time and one hole at a time and to let go of the shots that didn’t turn out so well,” Bibler said.
The players keep track of their fairway shots and putts in regulation play and it helps them narrow down on what they need to work on.
“This past week in practice we’ve been focusing on our short game. We’ve practiced at Meadowbrook two or three times from 100 yards in only, and that seems to help,” Bibler noted. “A lot of times we will play two balls from 100 yards in to sharpen our short game. When you get that short game honed in then your scores really start dropping.”
With the amount of returning players in the lineup, Bibler is looking forward to having a great season.
“The number of returning players makes our team strong and we are looking to continue to build our program and to hopefully extend golf being offered at the middle school,” she added.