Girls golf coach to team: “We’ll get there.”
By John Estridge, Sports Editor
“We'll get there.”
That is the overriding theme from Franklin County High School girls golf coach Marisa Mears.
Coming off the most successful golfing season in the school's history, the 2017 team was undefeated in dual meets, won the sectional and shot a team record at the regional but it put them two spots out of advancing as a team to the semistate.
Three Wildcats graduated off that dream team: Dana Branstetter, Kendyl Brack and Jade Allen.
Branstetter and Brack were often one and two for the team during invitationals and dual meets.
“That’s the dilemma this year,” Mears said.
Mears is left with one senior and the rest are underclassmen.
Abby Orschell is the lone senior.
“My three, four and five from last year have to step up to leadership roles,” Wilhelm said. “It’s a different kind of pressure for them.”
The No. three golfer a great deal of the time last year was Orschell.
Junior Maggie Brack was around the fourth golfer last year while Gracie Graf, a sophomore, was often fifth.
Another sophomore, Camryn Brewer, is also showing great improvement this season as is junior Ashlan Hill.
Last season’s spectacular success should help the Wildcat golfers this year.
“The experience for those three from last year, they couldn’t have gotten a better experience,” Mears said. “They definitely have a taste in their mouth for winning. I keep saying ‘we’re going to get there.’”
For many teams losing two talented players to graduation and having a young team would mean a rebuilding year. Mears will have none of that.
“Everybody looks at us as this might be a down year, but they’re learning to play without Kendyl and Dana this year,” she said. “I think by mid-season, we could get right back there.”
According to Mears, it is key for the team to develop good No. four and five golfers.
The 2018 golf team members were not thinking in a rebuilding mode when they announced their team goals. They are: Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference championship and sectional championship.
That hunger along with that confidence is something that occurs with winning.
Girls golf has won three straight conference crowns and two straight sectional trophies.
“My goals matched up to the goals they wrote down,” Mears said.
Conference may be doable but they have their work is cut out for them in defeating Richmond for the sectional crown.
The Lady Red Devils obliterated the field in the season’s first two invitationals where the Lady Wildcats also competed.
“They are very tough,” Mears said.
However, Mears said her younger golfers are capable of improving greatly this season.
“We will get there,” Mears said. “They’re just going to keep getting better.”
One aspect of the golf game the Wildcats must improve on is the short game.
“All nine of my girls from the highest scoring kid to the lowest scoring kid, they’re all capable of hitting it up by the green in not that many shots,” Mears said. “It’s what they do beyond that.
“That’s all we’ve been focusing on this year,” she continued.
It is cliche, but Mears said the only way to improve at the short game in golf is to practice.
“Practice,” Mears said. “Lots of drills, lots of practice. There’s different ways to set up for different shots. But mainly it’s just repetition, lots of repetition.”
When Mears was competing in sports as a Franklin County High School student-athlete, she was one of the best point guards to ever walk the halls. She reached back to that basketball experience to make a point.
“It’s like shooting free throws,” Mears said. “The more reps you get in, the better you are at them. It’s the same thing.”
And the Wildcats proved they are getting better. Monday night, Aug. 6, the Wildcats hosted the talented Red Devils at Brook Hill Golf Club.
The Wildcats lost by four strokes: 161-165 to Richmond.
The 2018 Girls Golf Team
Senior: Abby Orschell.
Juniors: Maggie Brack, Ashlan Hill, Sam Ebrens, Erin Hesselbrock and Taylor McCreary.