FORT MILL — The girls golf teams at Nation Ford and Fort Mill high schools will open up their seasons this week.
Both squads will have a seven-girl team, while each looks to contend at the 3A level.
Fort Mill, the defending region champs, will open at the Palmetto Preview at Mid-Carolina Country Club in Prosperity. The Lady Jackets, who finished 11th in the state last season, will be led by senior Sara Allen.
“Sara is the glue that keeps the team together,” said head coach Steve Gribble.
The competition should be just as tough for Fort Mill and Nation Ford despite both teams dropping to the 3A level for this season.
Unlike the 4A level, both squads will have to qualify if they want to go to the 3A state championship. The Upper State qualifying tournament is scheduled for Oct. 18 at Boscobel Golf Club in Pendleton.
“You have to be really playing well,” Gribble said. “The competition is going to be just as tough.”
Only the top seven qualify for the state tournament the following week in the one-day tournament.
New coach for Falcons
This season, the Lady Falcons golf team will be led by new coach Jaybe Shackleford. Shackleford, a former assistant basketball coach and varsity baseball coach, said he was up for the challenge of taking over the program following the retirement of former coach Brenda Stewart.
“I expect it to be a good season,” Shackleford said. “We have some really solid golfers.”
Unlike at Fort Mill, there are three players going for the No. 1 spot for the Lady Falcons – Zharne Glover, Shannon Connolly and Emily Baron.
Along with the changes at the head coach position, the Lady Falcons have changed home courses for the season. Because of work on the greens at Springfield Golf Course, Nation Ford is playing its home matches at Regent Park Golf Course.
“Regent Park has bent over backwards for us,” Shackleford said. “They have been real accommodating.”
Nation Ford opens its season at Lancaster this week.