Armada and Marysville will be defending league titles in girls’ golf this fall, while Port Huron Northern could join the state’s elite ranks.
Armada returns four letter winners from the team that captured the Women’s Thumb Independent League title a year ago.
“I’m pretty excited about this season,” coach John King said.
Along with a veteran core, the Tigers are counting on new additions, team chemistry and a winning tradition for what could be a very special season.
“If we really put in the effort and hard work, it will pay off,” senior captain Ashley Campbell said. “I don’t think this school has ever been to states.”
King isn’t shy about placing lofty expectations on his Tigers, starting with his captains, Campbell and Annie Steefanich.
He said Campbell, a third-year varsity golfer, is “the backbone of the team” while Steefanich arguably “has the best swing in the league.”
Armada does have a par five-sized hole to fill with the departure of Kelsey Motoligin, the league’s most valuable player last fall.
“She always made the day fun,” Steefanich said. “She was a really good golfer, but she always made the day good as well.”
Armada has high hopes for freshman Gabriella Locke, a new arrival from Arizona who has been golfing since age 3.
Although she competed in Arizona tournaments and won a Blue Water Junior Golf Tour event this summer, Locke acknowledge she still has jitters.
“I’m really nervous … just being the freshman,” she said, adding that her teammates are giving her good support.
Casey Boyd and Karley Theut also are returning letter-winners, while Lexie Nowicki, Gracie Phillips and Alyssa Schultz round out the roster.
Marysville won a regional championship and went undefeated in the Blue Division of the Macomb Area Conference last fall, but the Vikings graduated four top players.
Natalie Green and Courtney Fair return to lead a squad that features promising young players such as Elizabeth Fox and Jalyn Palermino.
“We have a lot of rebuilding to do, but anything is possible,” coach Wendy Palmateer said.
Port Huron Northern, which competes in the rugged MAC Red, returns five letter-winners including team captains Delaney Barr and Katelin Randolph.
“You hate to jinx yourself, but we should be at the top this year,” coach Mary Ann Easton said of the Huskies.
Northern is joined in the MAC Red by four much larger schools — Macomb Dakota, Utica Eisenhower, Grosse Pointe North and Grosse Pointe South, which finished fourth in last year’s state tournament.