FORTVILLE — Seeing a freshman make an immediate impact on any varsity roster is a rare sight.
Insert Mt. Vernon rookie Charley True, who, with seniors Molly Yee and Briley Wills, has propelled the Marauder’s girls’ golf team to a 7-2 start.
In fact, Mt. Vernon began the season 7-0 before placing third in its tri-meet Wednesday with Hoosier Heritage Conference foe Delta and Shenandoah.
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True, though, shot a 37 to claim medalist honors. Her low for the season is 35, which came Aug. 4 against Pendleton Heights in the Marauder’s first match of the season. According to head coach Caleb Zelencik, True’s play has deeply influenced the culture of this year’s team.
“Her previous experience and playing as much golf as she has has helped her come into the season in mid-season form,” Zelencik said. “She is a golf kid. She loves golf, plays golf all the time and plays in competitive tournaments pretty much year-round.”
The 14-year-old True played in a Junior Masters Tour this summer with stops at the North Open (Ft. Wayne) and Central Open (Indianapolis). Her career began 12 year ago, though, as she would follow her father around numerous courses in Indiana.
“He was a really good amateur when he was younger,” True said of her father, John True. “My dad and I have a special relationship, so I just followed him. But when I was 10 (I started taking it seriously). Whenever the weather is good, I’m out here. That’s pretty much all I do.”
That became evident for Zelencik, who stressed the importance of having another top-tier golfer. With the addition of True, with Yee and Wills, who were regional qualifiers in 2014, Mt. Vernon has three golfers capable of shooting the day’s lowest score.
“It gives us another really solid golfer at the top of our lineup,” Zelencik said. “But it also brings in another level of competition with the older girls and that’s good. The seniors need to be pushed. It also takes a load off the seniors’ backs. They don’t have to perform and be their best every night.”
Yee and Wills are no strangers to success. Both were a part of sectional championship teams their first two years of high school. Yee, specifically, has enjoyed what True has brought to the team.
“Charley is really good and Briley is really good, too,” she said. “It’s really nice having people to compete with.”
Zelencik added how beneficial it has been to the success of the team, on and off the greens.
“These girls get along and enjoy being around each other,” he said. “They understand that the competition makes them better. They are out to push each other to be their best.”
“It’s kind of relaxed,” True added. “If someone scores well we are happy for each other.”
With the added competition came an added bond. True and Yee became friends almost instantly.
“She’s (Yee) nice and she got with me and became friends really fast,” True said. “When she leaves, I have to try to see who the freshmen are next season and play with them and get to know them better.”
But how long can True keep these scores up? What is the ceiling for the raw freshman who has only experienced a fraction of what is to come in her golf career?
“She plays so much golf that I don’t even know that fatigue will hurt her,” Zelencik said.
“She takes lessons up at Prairie View, which is the state course. Hopefully it will benefit her in the future, she definitely has that potential.”
As for the immediate future, Mt. Vernon heads to Connersville today for a five-way meet at the Willowbrook Country Club. According to Zelencik, the meet will be key for the bottom of the Marauder’s lineup, who has struggled to find consistency in the early part of the season.
“I have some freshmen who have never played in an 18-hole event,” he said.
The pace then begins to slow down for the Marauders, who have one meet next week (Monday) before the annual County Meet on Sept. 1 at the Royal Hylands Golf Course (in Knightstown).
In 2014, New Palestine, who finished 12th at the state meet, took the top spot at County.
“We just need to find that consistency,” Zelencik said. “But, New Palestine is the team to beat.”