Taking a Closer Look at Area Girls Golf Teams

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Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

City High

Coach: Mike Bevlazqua (1st season)

Assistant coaches: Jeremy Wells

Top returners: Grace Bormann, Soph.; Alexa Fredericks, Jr.; Emily Knoche, Jr.; Kaylee Paulsen, Jr.; April Wilson, Jr.

Newcomers to watch: Kayla Hefley, Jr.; Maisie Snyder, Soph.

Headliner: Junior Kaylee Paulsen ranked third on the team with a 59.7 nine-hole average last season.

Keep an eye on: Emily Knoche ranked fifth on the team in nine-hole scoring average but is the Little Hawks top returner performer from the MVC Super Meet after carding a 114 a year ago.

Circle the date: May 3. City High hosts cross-town rivals Liberty High and West High along with Cedar Rapids Xavier in a MVC quadrangular.

Outlook: City High must replace its top two players from last season but returns five players with varsity experience.

Sophomore Grace Bormann and juniors Alexa Fredericks and April Wilson all return with experience along with Knoche and Paulsen as City High attempts to improve on its seventh-place Mississippi Valley Conference finish.

West High

Coach: Mary Goodfellow (19th season)

Assistant coaches: Don Bristow

Top returners: Ellie Kouba, Jr..; Rylee Fay, Soph.;

Newcomers to watch: Claudia Chia, Soph.

Headliner: Ellie Kouba quietly had a strong sophomore season a year ago while playing in the shadow of all-conference performer Jordan Amelon. Kouba ranked second on the team with with 52.7 nine-hole average.

Keep an eye on: Fay is a candidate for a breakthrough this season after getting her feet wet at the varsity level last season as a freshman.

Circle the date: April 30. Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet at Gardner Golf Course.

Outlook: West High faces its fair share of challenges and chief among them is adapting to the loss of four-time state qualifier Jordan Amelon and a strong senior class.

The Women of Troy will also be playing at Finkbine for the first time this season providing another fun challenge.

Long-time coach Mary Goodfellow is expecting Kouba and Fay to both take a step forward along with sophomore Claudia Chia.

Liberty High

Coach: Brian Wernimont (1st season)

Assistant coaches: Sean McCarty

Newcomers to watch: Brianna Butterfield, Fr.; Ella Johnson, Soph.; Grace Crimmins, Soph.; Marit McCaffery, Fr.; Cassidy Sundine, Jr.; Neely Naurus, Fr.

Circle the date: April 5. The first varsity contest for Liberty High comes against intracity foe West High at Finkbine Golf Course.

Outlook: Liberty High isn’t high on numbers with six golfers in its first varsity season but head coach Brian Wernimont likes the talent within the six-member varsity squad.

Wernimont expects all six golfers to provide varsity contributions in the program’s inaugural season.

Regina

Coaches: Kevin Kahler, Tim Scholze (1st season)

Top returners: Ellie VanLandschoot, Jr.; Jenna Zimmerman, Jr.; Grace Sharpless, Jr.; Tatiana Ochoa, Jr.; Alyssa Adrian, Jr.

Newcomers to watch: Suzy Lobodiak, Jr.

Headliner: Already a two-year varsity regular, Ellie VanLandschoot is the top returning for Regina after earning all-conference honors last season.  

Keep an eye on: Coaches refer to Grace Sharpless as one of the top leaders on the team and expect a step forward for the junior this season.

Circle the date: May 8. River Valley Conference meet at Blue Top Ridge Golf Course in Riverside.

Outlook: With three of its top five golfers returning this season the Regals have their sights set on improving on their sixth place River Valley Conference meet finish from last season.

VanLandschoot and Sharpless join fellow juniors Jenna Zimmerman, Tatiana Ochoa and Alyssa Adrian as players with returning varsity experience.

First year coaches Kevin Kahler and Tim Scholze expect junior Suzy Lobodiak to help as Regina pushes to climb the RVC ladder.

Clear Creek Amana

Coach: Cam Stockman (4th season)

Top returners: Emily Greathouse, Soph.; Thea Clennon, Soph.

Newcomers to watch: Jayden Knapp, Soph.; Ellie McCredie, Soph.; Cheyaenne Bunch, Soph.; Gracie Downes, Soph.

Headliner: Emily Greathouse enters the season as the Clippers number one golfer following a freshman season that she closed by shooting a 107 at the WAMAC Super Meet.

Keep an eye on: Head coach Cam Stockman hopes to see Thea Clennon move toward the top of the lineup after getting some varsity experience a year ago.

Circle the date: April 30. WAMAC West Divisional at Center Point. The Clippers get a warmup for the MVC Super Meet with what should be a highly competitive divisional meet.

Outlook: Three seniors are gone from last year’s squad that finished 11th at the WAMAC Super Meet. Stockman is looking for a solid fourth option to step forward to fill out the lineup.

The top six could be all sophomores as Jayden Knapp, Ellie McCredie, Cheyaenne Bunch and Gracie Downes join Greathouse and Clennon.

Solon

Coach: Curtis Hendrickson (3rd season)

Top returners: Heather Vance, Sr.; Reegan Helle, Jr.; Leah Woessner, Soph.

Newcomers to watch: Emma Bluder, Jr.; Elly Schadler, Soph.

Headliner: Junior Reegan Helle was a regional qualifier as a sophomore before struggling with an injury in a shortened season last spring.

Keep an eye on: Senior Heather Vance drew praise from head coach Curtis Hendrickson for her consistency and will try to use that to improve on her 60.7 nine-hole average from a year ago.

Circle the date: May 7. WAMAC Conference Super Meet at Thunder Hills Country Club. The Spartans will attempt to improve on their eight-place finish from last season.

Outlook: The Spartans were hit hard by graduation, losing four seniors that were all multi-year varsity contributors but still have 17 golfers out which is one of the largest teams in recent history.

Helle, Vance and sophomore Leah Woessner return with varsity experience and the Spartans have plenty of candidates to fill out the final three varsity spots.

West Branch

Coach: Jan O’Neil (20th season)

Assistant coaches: Angie Miller, John Walsh

Top returners: Aleah Rocha, Sr.; Drew Perkins, Sr.; McKenna Walsh, Sr.

Newcomers to watch: Savannah Sexton, Fr.; Mattie Hills, Jr.; Lauren Nalan, Jr.

Headliner: Senior Aleah Rocha looks to close her career with bang after leading the Bears with a 54.3 nine-hole average a year ago.

Keep an eye on: Senior McKenna Walsh is one of three returning players with varsity experience and will be an important piece of the Bear lineup.

Circle the date: May 8. River Valley Conference meet at Blue Top Ridge Golf Course. The Bears host the RVC meet in Riverside.  

Outlook: West Branch brings back its top player in Rocha and fellow seniors Drew Perkins and Walsh both have varsity experience but the Bears will need to round out its lineup to match its fourth-place RVC finish from last season.