NEW PALESTINE — Keeping the Dragons from repeating at the 2015 Hancock County girls golf meet will be no simple task. New Palestine is off to a red-hot 9-1 start and recently beat No. 11 Fishers on Aug. 26 at Hawk’s Tail Golf Course, 166-180.
Mackenzi Black led the Dragons with a one under-par 35 and has been consistently low all season. Teammate Cassidy Harp recorded a 38, and 2014 county champion Cassie Rooks shot a 40. Carly Jones rounded out the team’s score with a 43.
With the graduation of two-time county champion Abby Poole, Harp is the new face to the county scene looking to help Black, Rooks and Jones repeat today at the Royal Hylands Golf Club in Knightstown.
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“We’re a little bit ahead of where I thought we would be at this point,” Dragons head coach Gregg Greene said. “We’re still working on consistency in our short game.”
In 2014, New Palestine shot a school-record 155 to take first. Mt. Vernon, which was the two-time defending champ, finished with a 172. Greenfield-Central (184) and Eastern Hancock (197) finished third and fourth, respectively.
Black, Poole, Rooks, Jones and Mt. Vernon’s Molly Yee made the All-County Team.
This year’s meet, which is at a new location, will begin about 4 p.m. Last year, the meet was held at Arrowhead Golf Course.
“Royal Hylands is a lot different test,” Greene said. “It’s got more contour to the greens (than Arrowhead). There’s more ways to get in trouble I think on the side we’re going to play.”
New Palestine played at Royal Hylands on Aug. 17, defeating Whiteland and Knightstown. The Dragons shot a season-low round of 162 led by Jones’ 38.
Marauders challenge ready
After a second-place finish at county last year, Mt. Vernon is looking to get back to its winning ways with a mixture of experienced seniors and the addition of a talented freshman class.The Marauders are off to an 8-2 start with rookie Charley True and seniors Molly Yee and Briley Wills leading the way. Yee and Wills were both regional qualifiers in 2014, and True has been another solid piece at the top of Mt. Vernon’s lineup.All three have shot in the low 40s and high 30s this season, giving the Marauders a dangerous 1-2-3 punch.
As a team, Mt. Vernon carded a season-low round of 177 on Aug. 24 at Alexandria. According to head coach Caleb Zelencik, the Marauders are starting to see consistency toward the end of their lineup.
“We’re definitely getting more competitive,” Zelencik said. “Those scores are moving down slowly. They are working on consistency. The girls are really working hard.”
Another freshman, Savannah McKemmie, likely will be in the No. 4 spot today.
“She’s hitting the ball really well, and we’re just trying to work on her chances around the greens,” Zelencik added.
As for the team, in order to give New Palestine a run for its money, Zelencik would like to see putting improve.
“We’re seeing some more bogeys than birdies, which is going to happen at this level,” he said. “We’re putting ourselves in good position for pars or birdies, then we three-putt.”
The Marauders coach is also excited for the change of scenery, noting the new course should give all teams a level playing field.
“Change is good. I like that we’re going to a semi-neutral course,” he said. “They’ve (Eastern Hancock) only been there for a year. Most girls probably aren’t used to it.”
Cougars seek consistency
The Cougars enter the 2015 Hancock County Tournament searching for overall team consistency.Greenfield Central, which is 3-1-1, has seen scores drift anywhere in the 180-220 range this season.“We’ve just been working on the whole consistency thing, trying to have the same output every night,” coach Russ Wiley said. “That’s a pretty big swing (180-220) range.”
Makenzie Fisk, who just missed an All-County Team selection in 2014 after losing a tough-hole handicap to New Palestine’s Carly Jones, shot a 42 to lead the Cougars at Arrowhead last year.
Megan Garner, who was right behind Fisk with a 45, is also back to help pace the Cougars. Kim Miles, Lindsey McCord and Amanda Edwards round out Greenfield-Central’s lineup.
“Everybody’s got something to work on, whether it’s just trying to get their swing fixed or putting,” Wiley said.
The Cougars best match of the season came Aug. 19 at New Castle, a 181-183 Hoosier Heritage Conference win at Hawk’s Tail. Greenfield-Central had all of its top players shoot rounds below 50, a mark Wiley said would be important today at Royal Hylands.
“I think it will be a pretty close match,” he said. “We will have to have four scores in the 40s to contend.”
efending homeEastern Hancock brings the biggest question mark into today’s county tournament as the host Royals have a completely new look from the 2014 squad that finished fourth at Arrowhead.“We have a whole new team,” head coach Chelsie Kelly said. “They are learning the game of golf in general. The other teams have been together a while.”
Despite the lack of experience, Kelly said she’s tried to promote a positive environment for learning, since every part of the game is being taught.
“With the new players, we literally work on everything in practice,” she said. “The putting is probably the biggest issue. The short game is huge.
“But they are having fun. They don’t get down on themselves often, because they understand their still learning and everything is new to them.”
Senior Abby Fout has been the team’s low scorer all season. She is the only player to stick with the sport throughout high school in Kelly’s four seasons.
“She actually recruited every girl that’s on the team,” Kelly said. “They all look up to her since she knows the routine of things.”
Alexis Young, Emma Lewis, Logan O’Neal and Kensie Watson round out the Royals’ top five, who has shot as low as 246 this season.