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SHEPHERDSVILLE – With all five players returning who played in last year’s regional tournament, the Bullitt East Lady Charger golf team is ready to move into the top half of the teams in Region 3 this fall.
Still, the team has only one senior, Olivia Pruitt, so the future is bright for coach Andy Oder’s program. After reaching the state tournament in 2010 with a senior-laden team, Oder has been rebuilding the program.
“We’re in good shape,” Oder said during a scrimmage last week with North Bullitt. “We’re doing well with rebuilding.”
The expectations are higher this season, although, a trip to the state tournament (with a top two finish in the regional tournament) might still be a little out of reach.
“I don’t want to put too much (pressure) on them, but yes,” Oder said when asked about higher expectations. “Our coaching has changed now. We’re past just working with them to make good contact and now we’re analyzing shots and talking about club selection.
“We should be better than the sixth or seventh that we finished last year,” the coach added of the regional tournament. “We have the ability to move up a few spots. If for no other reason than they have all experienced it (post-season play).”
The Lady Chargers have returned to Heritage Hill Golf Course this year after playing last season at Glenmary Golf Course in Fern Creek. Bullitt East will host the Lady Charger Invitational on Saturday, August 24 at Heritage Hill.
At this point, Oder is looking to the team’s lone senior, Pruitt, to play in the number one slot while junior Morgan Judd will be at number two. Rounding out the top five spots will be juniors Erica Hall, Savannah Morris and Marissa Eschman.
Of the eight players in the program at this point, five are juniors.
Both Pruitt and Judd have broken 100 in tournament play and Oder feels that the other three on the main team can do that this season.
One player looking to pull a rare double this fall will be junior Jennifer Cischke who is going to play both volleyball and golf. This will be her first year of golf.
The other two players in the program are sophomores Haley Steinmetz and Abbie Thomas who both joined the program last year.
In his second year as the head coach, Ronnie Bryson knows this fall that he will have a team. Last year there were question marks up until the middle of the season.
Still, Bryson is working hard to build a program. At this point, the coach is sure that only two of his players are capable at this point of playing 18 holes, something they have to do in a tournament at least once during the season. The coach is sure that freshmen Sarah Morris and Katie Jenkins will play in the Bullitt East event on Aug. 24 and he hopes to have more ready by that point.
The good news is that there are seven players in the program now and four of the players are back from last year. With the returning players and Bryson being on the job, the team participated in some clinics at Heritage Hill in the spring.
“It is much better,” Bryson said of the state of his program this season. “With the ones coming back they got to play in some clinics and camps. That has helped. They didn’t wait until July 15 to pick up a club.”
The dream at this point is to have five girls ready to participate in the regional tournament so that North Bullitt would have a complete team score, something that hasn’t happened in recent years.
The two freshmen are in the program for the third year and they will be the basis for the future. Bryson also has a pair of seniors in Alanie Bauer and Carly Benz. The program also has junior Madison Zachary and Haley Vittitow along with sophomore Tiffany Quiggins.
The overall program is still taking baby steps.
“This year the girls know what they are doing,” Bryson said. “This year I want to play in matches and compete. I want them to get better and improve. I’ve seen improvement in the first two weeks this summer.”
Bryson has ten matches and the one tournament on the schedule now. He feels all of his girls can carry their bags (or use wheeled carts) for nine holes.
“Anything in the middle 50s would be progress,” the coach said.
Third-year head coach James Moore is still working on putting together a program. He didn’t have a team two years ago and last year the program included four seniors and a junior.
This summer, he started with hopes of better numbers but at one point the numbers dropped to two, but have increased as the start of school approaches.
More will be written on the Lady Cougars as the season progresses.