NorthWood heads into the 2014 girls golf season with five returning letterwinners from an 11-1 team that earned the program's first IHSAA State Finals team appearance.
While top player Heidi Morganthaler, the Panthers have enough talent — including three-time regional qualifier Rachel Beebe — returning that the Indiana High School Golf Coaches Association made coach Adam Yoder's team a No. 23 pick in the preseason rankings.
"Our season expectations are two-fold as always — give ourselves a realistic chance to win the (Northern Lakes Conference) title heading into the NLC tournament and to qualify for the IHSAA East Noble Regional," says Yoder. "Our biggest strengths include tournament experience, local course knowledge and our collective ability to drive the ball consistently well.
Juniors Linnzie Richner and Summer Stillson have both shown they can post high finishes in NLC play and IHSAA tournament play. There could be times this fall when three Richner sisters — Linnzie, junior Baillie and freshman Madison — are in the NorthWood lineup.
After a long and successful run on the watch of coach Jim Garrett, Penn's program has been taken over by Dominic Demeter. The Kingsmen are ranked No. 14 in the statewide preseason poll a year after placing second at the State Finals. Led by junior Cassidy Jurkaites, Penn placed second in the season-opening Homestead Invitational.
Wawasee, coached by Steve Coverstone, won 16 dual matches in 2013 and welcomes back eight letterwinners, including seniors Megan Goralczyk, Elizabeth Jackson and Courtney McDaniel.
Elkhart Central coach Scott Sekal welcomes back two seniors — Shelby Mecklenburg and Libby Tully — from a team that won 13 dual matches in 2013.
2014 Girls Golf Preview
Coach: Jess Dooley (first season).
Assistant: Tara Boessler.
2013 record: 10-13 (2-5 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (4): Seniors — Libby Gill, Olivia Kauffman. Junior — Michaela Searer. Sophomore — Erika Shirley.
Other: Senior — Keaonna Clopton. Junior — Mary Balentine. Sophomore — Camryn Cramer. Freshman — Elise Boessler.
Home course: Bent Oak.
Coach: Scott Sekal (25-12 in two seasons).
2013 record: 13-6 (5-3 NIC; sectional runner-up, regional qualifier).
Returning letterwinners (2): Seniors — Shelby Mecklenburg, Libby Tully.
Others: Seniors — Aubrey Castleman, Danjae Donaldson. Sophomore — Zoie Adams.
Home course: Christiana Creek.
Coach: Ryan Wixon (4-30 in two seasons).
2013 record: 3-11 (1-6 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (3): Seniors — Kaylin Byers, Allyson Disher, Chloe Kline.
Others: Sophomores — Calandra Clevenger, Tara Shreiner, Kelsey Weaver. Freshman — Kennedy Disher.
Home course: Christiana Creek.
Coach: Rand Schrock (51-23 in six seasons).
Assistant: Craig Zentz.
2013 record: 7-7 (2-2 in Northeast Corner Conference; NECC tournament champions).
Returning letterwinners (4): Senior — Alayna Fritchley. Junior — Makayla Bontrager, Chelsea Neibert. Sophomore — Regina Raber.
Home course: Timber Ridge.
Coach: Brock Rose (sixth season).
Assistant: Bruce Zimmerman.
2013 record: 6-13 (1-6 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (3): Senior —Gale Immel. Junior — Claire Palczynski, Sara Rodgers.
Others: Senior — Lauren Lehr. Juniors — Liz Erickson, Nicole Miller. Sophomore — Amy Holbrook. Freshmen — Sofia Chupp, Megan Fleischer, Katie Kercher, Christina Moyer, Olivia Thomas.
Home course: Maplecrest.
Coach: Ken Brewster (6-8 in one season).
2013 record: 6-18 (0-7 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (4): Seniors — Alexa Taylor, Emily Thomas. Junior — Lucy Wisolek. Sophomore — Katy Pluimer.
Others: Seniors — Kelly Dodson, Carly Edds. Freshmen — Hannah Coates, Cate Tompkins.
Home course: Meadow Valley.
Coach: Adam Yoder (74-18 in six seasons).
2013 record: 11-1 (7-0 in Northern Lakes Conference; NLC champions; East Noble Sectional and East Noble Regional runners-up; 15th at State Finals).
Returning letterwinners (5): Senior — Rachel Beebe. Juniors — Baillie Richner, Linnzie Richner. Sophomores — Alaina Benjamin, Summer Stillson.
Others: Freshmen — Hope Cripe, Madison Richner.
Home course: McCormick Creek.
Coach: Dominic Demeter (first season).
Assistant: Kyle Demeter.
2013 record: 13-0 (8-0 in Northern Indiana Conference; NIC, sectional, regional champions; runner-up at State Finals).
Roster: Juniors — Lucy Bowers, Abby Jones, Cassidy Jurkaites. Sophomores — Sanjana Kulrkarni, Madi Meyer, Nadia Sandler, Maddie Thurin, Stephanie Voelker. Freshmen — Abbegayle Foster, Abbey Hamilton.
Home course: Knollwood.
Coach: Steve Coverstone (29-9 in two seasons).
Assistant: Bruce Jackson.
2013 record: 16-3 (5-2 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (8): Seniors — Megan Goralczyk, Elizabeth Jackson, Courtney McDaniel. Juniors — Kamryn Foy, Mikala Mawhorter, Kylee Rostochak. Sophomore — Madison Beaman, Aubrey Schmeltz.
Other: Sophomore — Rebekkah Bender.
Home course: Maxwelton.