Last season: The Royals finished fourth at the Hancock County Championships (235 for nine holes) and seventh at the sectional at Old Oakland in Indianapolis with a 474.
Coach: Chelsie Kelley, 1st season.
Home course: Royal Hylands, Knightstown.
Projected varsity (with grade): Rachel Boaz (10), Macy Fout (10), Hailey Carlton (10), Casey Hancock (10) and Breanna Jones (11) are returning varsity players, while Riley Burkhart (11) and Lauren Baurele (11) are newcomers.
Outlook: Chelsie Kelley (formerly Mason), a 2007 New Palestine graduate, takes over as head coach for Blake Heim, who resigned.
Heim felt it was time to let someone younger take charge of the program, according to EH athletic director Aaron Spaulding.
Kelley was a golfer the Dragons, and she’s eager to start coaching at Eastern Hancock, where she is a resource teacher.
“I loved playing golf in high school, and I still do,” Kelley said. “I had some coaches that I just didn’t care for, and I wanted to be different than that, to show the girls that I do understand what it’s like to be in their shoes.”
Kelley will be working with a varsity unit mostly intact from last year. Rachel Boaz, Macy Fout and Hailey Carlton were in the sectional lineup as freshmen, and they return, along with fellow sophomore Casey Hancock and junior Breanna Jones, who each gained significant experience last season.
“They’ve very excited,” Kelley said of her team’s demeanor. “And from what I can tell so far, very competitive.”
Unfortunately for the Royals, they lost perhaps the best player in program history with the graduation of Hannah Boaz. She shot a 93 at last season’s sectional to become the first Eastern Hancock golfer to qualify for the regional since the sport’s inception at EH in 1999.
Kelley is confident the remaining golfers will enjoy their first season under her wings.
“Having fun is a big part of golf,” she said. “If we win, great, but we should still have fun.”
The Royals open the season today at Wapahani.