Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
NORTH LIBERTY – Liberty High freshman Neely Maurus had one simple goal for her first season of varsity golf.
“We just wanted to win one meet,” Maurus explained. “That was our main goal.”It took Maurus and her Liberty High teammates just two tries to check that goal off the list.
Maurus earned medalist honors to help Liberty High edge West High by two strokes in the second dual meet in program history last week.
With a team win already under its belt and back-to-back medalist honors for Maurus the past two meets the Lightning have their sights set much higher than just one win in their first season of competition.
“Mostly we wanted to make improvement throughout the year from our first to our last meet and we have already done that,” Maurus said. “We have already taken more than 20 shots off our team score and I think we can be under 200 by the end of the year.”
Maurus wasn’t sure what goals to set for her first season.
Honestly, no one at Liberty High really knew what to expect for the first season in program history.
Cold and snowy weather hampered the efforts early for the first-year program but since getting on the course the Lightning have progressed quickly.
Liberty High has taken 25 strokes off its best score in about two weeks going from a 242 in its first ever dual to a 217 on Tuesday in a home dual with Regina.
In between those two was the memorable first win that just happened to come over cross-town rival West High.
“Lots of times we talk about playing against ourselves but we have a team here that can go out and compete and so we are trying to win,” Liberty High coach Brian Wernimont said. “The fact that (the win) came that early was really fun and the girls had a great time with it.”
Maurus has been a big part of the success for Liberty High.
Despite being a freshman Maurus is the most experienced player on the team after picking up the sport when she was seven.
“She has gotten bitten by the bug, she just loves the game,” Wernimont said. “She has had the opportunity to play a lot more golf than any of the other girls on the team and she has got a lot of natural ability.”
Maurus plays basketball and volleyball at Liberty High but her first love is golf.
She has flashed her potential just three meets into her career opening with a 47 in a dual against Mid-Prairie before posting back-to-back 49s to earn medalist honors against West High and Regina.
All while playing in less than ideal conditions.
“It can be tough playing in the cold but that’s part of it,” Maurus said. “I love to play so it’s fun even if you’ve got cold hands sometimes.”
Wernimont believes the sky is the limit for his team and it all starts with Maurus.
"She has gotten a couple of medalist honors under her belt and she will learn how to handle success with that,” Wernimont said. “She is obviously a very good talent and we were blessed that we were giving that. That wasn’t created in two weeks hitting balls in the snow this spring. That was delivered too us.”