With a pair of seniors gone to graduation, Shelbyville is searching for new leadership within its girls golf program.
Kaitlyn Richards, the 2015 Golfer of the Year, and Kaitlyn Frazee have moved on leaving juniors Daniela Joseph and Lauren Pike competing for the No. 1 position.
While Richards was the only Shelby County golfer to post a 9-hole score better than 47 last season, Pike, Joseph and rising senior Natalie Glidden all posted sub-50 rounds.
Pike was even credited with a hole-in-one on Sept. 10 at Bear Chase Golf Club in a dual match against New Palestine.
“Daniela and Lauren are battling for No. 1 and No. 2 right now,” said head coach Mark Kaiser on Friday, the first official day of practice for girls golf teams. “I don’t know who will be where.”
Glidden played her way into a varsity role in 2015 and should play right behind Joseph and Pike in the lineup, according to Kaiser.
“That leaves the bottom two spots in the lineup up for grabs for everyone else,” said Kaiser.
The Golden Bears roster is 10 deep including four freshmen that played middle school golf.
“I’m pretty encouraged by them coming out and playing,” said Kaiser. “Hopefully they can make an impact.”
The freshmen are Madison Richards — younger sister of the reigning Player of the Year, Savannah McNaughton, Alexa Wilkison and Jill Linville.
There are three seniors: Glidden, Hannah Mohr and Lillian Treon.
The only sophomore is Abby Miller.
“I know we will be competitive but I don’t have any idea what kind of scores we’re going to shoot,” said Kaiser. “Losing both Kaitlyns last year, they were major contributors to our season, so it’s going to be how much we’ve improved over the summer.”
Shelbyville opens the season this week against a pair of Hoosier Heritage Conference opponents. The Golden Bears travel to Mt. Vernon today and New Castle on Friday.
The home opener at Bear Chase Golf Club is Aug. 10 against another HHC opponent in Pendleton Heights.
Here’s a look at the other two girls golf programs in Shelby County:
There will not be any competitions for playing time at Southwestern.
Head coach Gary Muldoon has five golfers — four seniors and one junior. And that leaves the future of the program in doubt.
That issue will be determined at a later date. In 2016, the veteran coach is excited about an experienced roster that has been working hard to better their games.
Returning seniors are Vanessa Smith, Cassie Popplewell, Gabby Jones and Samantha Settles. The lone junior is Kaelea Weekly.
“We’re really hitting the ball better than in the past,” said Muldoon. “I think we will see lower scores this year.”
Smith posted the Spartans’ best nine-hole score (47) in 2015. Popplewell had the team’s only medalist honor.
Southwestern tees it up for the first time Tuesday against Edinburgh.
Like Southwestern, Triton Central has just five golfers — and none have varsity experience.
Head coach Karen O’Neill had a very young team that includes three freshmen, two of which played for the middle school program last season.
The Tigers roster includes junior Grace Scott, sophomore Hollie Duncan and freshmen Elizabeth Kemper, Lydia Lee and Kristy Gregory.
Kemper posted scores in the mid-40s last season as an eighth grader which leads O’Neill to believe she has a bright future.
“Elizabeth is going to be a really good high school golfer,” said O’Neill. “And there might be a few others.”
But that will take time to develop.
“I have a couple that haven’t even played nine holes yet,” she said. “I think we will be able to grow a lot this year.”
Triton Central opens the season Tuesday at Greensburg.
Jeff Brown is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Jeff on Twitter at @iamtsnsports.