By Jacki Wood
The Maryville girls golf team returns last year’s Midland Empire Conference champion and All-State medalist in Emily Long. But the team also graduated three members who helped the Spoofhounds place fifth at state.
“We saw a lot of success last year,” head coach Brenda Ricks said, who is in her 19th year with the Hounds. “It will be interesting to see how it all plays out this season.”
The Spoofhounds won the MEC last year, and in addition to Long, three others earned All-Conference honors – Kylee Dougan, Laurelle Wickersham and Kaylin Byland – who all graduated.
Still, Ricks remains optimistic.
“We lost three seniors and our numbers are low but three of the girls (on this year’s team) played in the St. Joseph Junior Series this summer,” she said. “And that’s the most I have had there in quite some time.”
Seniors Long and Hadley Mundorf, who will serve as this year’s captains, and junior Lauren Padgitt competed in the junior series as well as other tournaments this summer.
“This competition hones their competitive skills and should give them a big advantage going into the season,” Ricks said.
Senior Mia Haile also returns for the Hounds and Ricks hopes she gets two to three freshmen to help fill out the rest of the team.
The girls will focus on the short game, she said, as it is always an area that needs work.
“We also will need to focus on the mental game which is an issue to most every golfer,” she said. “Being able to move on to that next shot with the focus just on that shot. It sounds easy but it is probably the most difficult part of the game.”
Goals for the year include holding onto the MEC title, moving out of the district tournament, into sectionals and on to state. And, Ricks said, having fun.
She said she is looking forward to their home tournament, which is the first competition of the season.
“We always look forward to it,” she said, “because with it being a best ball tournament, the girls get to play with a teammate.”
The Maryville Invitational Best Ball is set for Tuesday, September 3 at Mozingo Lake Golf Course.