Oder has Lady Chargers thinking big for another season

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Girls' Golf

By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON - The 2010 Girls’ Golf Season was a banner campaign for the Bullitt East Lady Chargers.

Capping a five-year building process in grand fashion, coach Andy Oder’s team finished as the runner-up in regional play and advanced to the Kentucky State Tournament for the first time in school history. Senior Katie Nusz made the big show for the third time in four years and survived the cut for the first time.

Following success came graduation. Nusz is headed to college and will be playing for Union this fall. Two other seniors will be wearing different colors this fall including the coaches’ daughter, Meredith.

Still, the program is not bare. Oder has ten girls on the team this fall including four seniors who have varsity experience. Three of the four seniors have played in a regional tournament before.

Again this season, Bullitt East will be calling Heritage Hill its home course. That could be a huge advantage as the course off Cedar Grove Road will host the 3rd Region tournament on Sept. 27.

At this point, the coach is not looking to lessen any of the talk of repeating some of the accomplishments the team had last year.

“Our expectations have not changed,” the coach noted. “We want to go back (to the state tournament).

“I don’t know if we can match some of the better scores we had last year,” Oder said. “But, I think we can improve on some of the other scores we posted last year. Our lows might not be as low or the highs as high. We’ll be more even across the board.”

Two of the Lady Charger seniors participated in the Governor’s Scholars program this summer and reported late to the beginning of practice. Still, Oder is looking for the four seniors to fill most of the varsity spots with three younger players battling for the fifth spot.

Seniors Maggie Smith, McKenzie Perdew and Emily Mingus all played for the Lady Chagers last season. Oder wasn’t ready to name a number one player, but Smith has been posting the best scores early on. The fourth senior is Kendra Grant. She was part of the program for two years before taking two years off from competitive golf.

The other three varsity players will be sophomore Olivia Pruitt and freshmen Morgan Judd and Sophia Tellman. There are no juniors in the Bullitt East program and Pruitt is the only sophomore.

Oder feels that the success from a year ago should help this group. He isn’t worried about the pressure to duplicate last season to burden this group.

“We absolutely can do those things,” the coach said of being a regional contender again. “I have four seniors who can compete in the region. That fifth spot is open. The three younger players were part of the JV last year and they will get a chance to show me in varsity matches this season.”

The Lady Chargers are already two weeks into the regular season. They have a match on Tuesday at Heritage Hill against North Bullitt.

One of the highlights of the season will come on Saturday, Aug. 27 when the Lady Chargers host the Bluegrass Invitational at Heritage Hill. Oder has lined up 23 schools for the event which will include five of the top ten teams from the state tournament last season.

Late in the season, Bullitt East will join North Bullitt and Bullitt Central in the Bullitt Cup at Heritage Hill. During the final week of the regular season, the three Bullitt County schools will join together to take on the three public schools in Hardin County for the Bullitt/Hardin Challenge. The format is something that started with the boys’ programs last season and will now be for both boys’ and girls’ this September.

Oder has lined up five major Saturday tournaments for his team.

Bullitt East has a volunteer assistant coach this season in Randolph Settles. He played with Oder on the first Bullitt East boys’ team back in 1982.

Oder on KGCA Board

Oder, who initially took over the Bullitt East program only because his daughter was playing, has become hooked on coaching. He was recently part of a group of the state’s coaches who formed the Kentucky Golf Coaches Association. Oder is serving as the Executive Director for the group this year.

The non-profit group was formed on Feb. 19 and Oder estimated that about ten percent of the state’s coaches have already joined. The group will be for both boys’ and girls’ golf in the state.

The coaches want to have a united front when it comes to speaking to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. The group would also like to conduct post-season ‘All-Star’ tournaments like other sports have as well as building a website to post tournament results like the track and cross-country coaches have done successfully in recent years.

The group’s web address is a little confusing in that it doesn’t match the groups initials. The website can be found at www.kygca.org. 

Tough Day for BC

Competing for the first time this season last Saturday, the Bullitt Central Cougars had a tough day in the Meade County Invitational.

Battling against a top field, the Cougars finished 12th overall. The team posted a 422 score which was well off the winning score of 309 posted by the Meade County White squad.

Bullitt Central got a 95 from Jacob Richardson along with a 98 from Casey Goins, a 112 from Johnny Larison and a 117 from Nick Smith over the Doe Valley Country Club course.