Girls’ high school golf teams tee up a new season

mbanks@comporium.netAugust 17, 2013 

— Now that a new school year is beginning, golfers for both Fort Mill and Nation Ford girls’ teams will be returning to the tees soon.

Fort Mill and Nation Ford won’t wait long to face each other as the two teams square off against each other Aug. 27 at Springfield Golf Course just under a week after Wednesday’s first day of school.

For the Lady Jackets, a lot of experience is returning to their team this year. Fort Mill lost just two golfers from last year’s squad because of graduation and will bring back experienced players like Alex O’Neil, Randi Smith and Catherine Blum.

“We have a good nucleus coming back,” said head coach Steve Gribble. “I’m looking forward to that. I am pleased with the girls we have coming back.”

The Lady Jackets have just one senior this year in O’Neil, along with three juniors, two sophomores, two eighth graders and a seventh grader on this year’s squad.

Fort Mill finished third in Region III-AAAA last year and Gribble said he knows things will be just as tough this year.

“Our region is going to be strong,” he said. “There is going to be a lot of parity. There is so much parity we are going to have to take it day-by-day and be better than the day before.”

Gribble predicted South Pointe to be pretty strong again this year.

For Nation Ford, a familiar face is back as head coach in Jaybe Shackleford, replacing Mary Glover, who stepped down after one season. Shackleford, a former NaFo head girls’ golf coach, said this year’s squad is a young one as the team has been practicing for the past several weeks.

The Lady Falcons have two returning players in juniors Erin Mathis and Shannon Maguire. Nation Ford has no seniors on the team and Shackleford said the experience for some of his players is low.

“We are very young,” Shackleford said. “We have a lot of potential. Things have been coming along very well.”

The team has another junior in Grayson Skidmore and one senior in Gabby Longley, along with three sophomores, an eighth grader and two seventh graders.

Shackleford said working through the mental grid of the game will be new to the younger players.

“Our biggest challenge is working through the struggles of being beginner golfers and learning how to play,” he said.

Shackleford said he wants his team to be competitive and compete for a spot in the Upper State tournament by finishing in the top of at the Region tournament scheduled for Lancaster Golf Course Oct. 14.

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