FORTVILLE — For two straight years there was no doubt who the face of the Mt. Vernon girls golf program was going to be once the season started.
This fall, however, the Marauders will have a new look with turnover at the top of their lineup.
“My No. 1 and No. 2 are both gone,” Mt. Vernon head coach Aaron Shewman said. “No Charlie True. Her dad said she wasn’t going to play high school golf this year. They said she did a lot of golfing this summer, so I don’t know what changed.”
The loss of Charlize True, a two-time state qualifier for the Marauders, changes the season’s outlook drastically, but the team is moving forward regardless, Shewman said.
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True, a junior, led the team since she burst onto the scene as a freshman, known for her powerful drives and quiet efficiency.
As a freshman starter, True was a medalist at the Mt. Vernon Sectional in 2015 and tied for 11th overall at the state meet with a two-round score of 160 held at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.
The Marauders’ former top golfer advanced through the state tournament as an individual her sophomore season, tying for 21st at the state meet last October with a two-day tally of 157.
This summer while competing in the Indiana Junior Golf Tour, True tied for fifth in the Indiana Girls Junior PGA Championship at Wabash’s Honeywell Golf Course in June and deadlocked for eighth during the Girls State Junior Championship at Anderson Country Club in June.
“The Charlie thing really surprised me,” Shewman said. “But we have to continue to get better. I think not having Charlie might help the girls. Charlie, at times, would go off on her own, so I think it could help the girls make them want to play harder instead of wanting to jump on her back and her carrying them.
“And if Charlie decided to come back her senior year, she might be surprised on how much better the girls are going to be.”
The loss of Katie Davis, a solid freshman contributor last season, also hurts the program’s area of strength. Davis and her family moved out of state following the school year, though her departure wasn’t unexpected.
Davis and True both led the Marauders to a runner-up team placement in the Hancock County Tournament with a 184 compared to New Palestine’s championship total of 150. Mt. Vernon finished eighth at the Hoosier Heritage Conference Tournament in 2016 and were sixth at their own sectional with a 443.
With the return of three starters, the talent pool remains solid, Shewman emphasized, starting with the team’s new No. 1 golfer in junior Ava Hampton. Her twin sister Lily Hampton also is back along with junior Savannah McKemie.
“The twins definitely improved a lot toward the end of the year. I know that Ava will be my No. 1. She played No. 2 and 3 last year,” Shewman said.
An area the Hampton girls focused on this offseason was stamina. Logging several rounds this spring and summer has pushed them to become stronger finishers, which could assist the revamped lineup.
“They’ve played a lot this summer, and the big thing that they have done is play a lot of 18 holes,” Shewman said. “That was one of their problems last year. When we would get to those 18 holes, they were tiring out because they weren’t conditioned for it. They put in a lot of work.”
Junior Morgan Hear, a reserve in 2016, will move up into the fifth spot in the lineup this season, and she along with McKemie have been preparing for the challenge ahead.
“Morgan and Savannah both took lessons at The Fort (Golf Resort in Indianapolis),” Shewman said. “I know they’ve all been working to try to improve.
“The girls told me last year that they were going to practice all winter and do whatever they needed to do because they wanted to get better. I just want the girls to do their best.”
The Marauders open the season Tuesday against HHC foe Pendleton Heights at Fall Creek Golf Club in Pendleton. They travel to Shelbyville on Wednesday and Whiteland on Aug. 5 before hosting Beech Grove and Lawrence Central at Arrowhead Golf Course on Aug. 8.