PREP GIRLS GOLF: Stillson, O'Dell back to lead prep golfers

PHOTO CONTRIBUTEDThe NorthWood High School girls golf team won a seventh straight Northern Lakes Conference championship last season at Black Squirrel Golf Course in Goshen. Members of the team, from left, are Makenna Gall, Cybil Stillson, MacKenzie Weaver, Abby Slabuagh, Delaney Davis, Kaylee Gall, Kirsten Schrock, Abigail Richner and Brenna Goss.

GOSHEN — This could be one of the best seasons in local high school girls golf in recent memory, including several quality teams capable of advancing all the way to the state tournament and a couple of individuals also worthy of making the state finals.

A year ago, both Northridge (East Noble) and NorthWood (Warsaw) captured sectional championships. Concord and Lakeland tied for second place at East Noble while Wawasee was the runner-up at Warsaw. NorthWood went on to finish second in the East Noble regional and 10th at the state finals.

Cybil Stillson, who was tied for 13th (80-75—155 among the individuals at state) returns for her sophomore season at NorthWood and Braedyn O’Dell, who shared 54th (84-89—173) at state is back for her senior campaign at Northridge.

Stillson was an IHSGCA All-State and All-Northern Lakes Conference selection last season. She won medalist honors at Fort Wayne Canterbury, New Prairie and Culver Academies invitationals. She was also the NLC tourney medalist.

NorthWood has been on a roll, qualifying for the regional 10 times in the last 11 seasons. The Panthers have a streak of 50 straight wins in the NLC and have captured seven straight league titles.

At Northridge, veteran coach Ken Brewster is back coaching full time after losing his wife, Crystal Brewster, who died Aug. 15, 2018, following a six-year battle with cancer.

“I am looking forward to getting back to coaching full time and to my daughter’s (Ashley Brewster) senior season,” Brewster said.

Concord returns four of its top five players from a year ago, led by seniors Lauren Boessler and Gabby Sponseller.

Fairfield senior Jalee Nunemaker was the third leading individual at the East Noble Sectional last year with a 42-43—85.

Greg Keim can be reached at greg.keim@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 326. Follow Greg on Twitter @gkeim_TGN

CONCORD

Coach: Tara Boessler, 5th season.

Assistant Coach: Jeff Petty.

2018 record: 12-3 overall, 6-1 NLC

Returning letterwinners: Seniors — Lauren Boessler. Gabby Sponseller. Juniors — Evelyn Theinert, Gracie Tucker. Sophomore — Rayna Boessler,

Other varsity candidates: Senior — Elli Schaffer. Junior — Cate Stauffer. Freshmen — Makenzie Peterson, Ryleigh Robinson, Olivia Taylor.

Comments: “We had one varsity player graduate last year and Cate Stauffer and Rayna Boessler are ready to fill that spot,” coach Boessler said. “All players have been working on their game in the offseason and in the summer so I am optimistic and excited about this season. The team wants to qualify for regional again especially the seniors since they have gone to regionals the last three years as a team. The last Concord team to make it to regional was in 2002 so seniors and the team want to continue this path they started in 2016.”

FAIRFIELD

Coach: Brent Nunemaker, 3rd season.

Assistant Coach: Landyn Nunemaker.

2018 record: 2-12 overall, 1-5 NECC.

Returning letterwinners: Senior — Chloe Dell, Hannah Dervin, Jalee Nunemaker.

Other varsity candidates: Sophomores — Annika Eppert, Aubrey Kelsey, Trinity Ruiz, Ashlynn Yoder. Freshmen — Malley Behles, Bailey Willard.

Comments: “We are looking forward to being a lot tougher mentally and hoping to see the team come together and play some of the best golf we have seen in a few years with the girls program,” coach Nunemaker said. “Coaches are excited and the girls seem excited, so hopefully that means for some great golf this season.”

GOSHEN

Coach: Jenna Pecenka, 1st season.

Assistant Coach: Kelly Soard.

Returning letterwinners: Senior — Lauren Murphy. Juniors — Estella Borden, McKenna Cripe.

Other varsity candidates: Junior — Jenna Vanderway. Sophomore — Sarah Kim. Freshmen — Haylee Evans, Abbey Kramer, Maya Narayan, Jordyn Selman.

Comments: “We have four freshmen joining our team this season,” coach Pecenka said. “I am very happy with the turnout and the drive of the new players. We have some brand new players and some that played in middle school. I am excited to see our returning players give guidance to our new players and to see what our new freshman will do to our lineup.”

LAKELAND

Coach: Cassidy Roush, 3rd season.

2018 record: 8-3.

Returning letterwinners: Juniors — Sadie Edsall, Madison Keil (All-NECC), Tatum Retterbush. Sophomore — Kylee Watkins.

Other varsity candidates: Freshmen — Brooke Retterbush, Amelia Trump.

Comments: “We placed second in our sectional last season. Our averages were in the 90’s last season I expect the averages to be lower this season,” coach Roush said. “We hope to build and get stronger on the success of last year’s team. We want to keep improving as the season goes on into the conference (NECC) and state tournament.”

NORTHRIDGE

Coach: Ken Brewster, 8th season.

2018 record: 13-3 overall, 5-2 in the NLC.

Returning letterwinners: Seniors — Ashley Brewster, Emily Mack, Braedyn O’Dell, Jules Weaver.

Other varsity candidates: Sophomore — Isabela Lawrence. Freshman — Peyton Roberts.

NORTHWOOD

Coach: Adam Yoder, 12th season.

Assistant Coach: Kate Adams.

2018 record: 13-0 overall, 7-0 NLC.

Returning letterwinners: Seniors Delaney Davis (co-captain), Kylee Gall (co-captain), Makenna Gall (co-captain), Kirsten Schrock (co-captain, 2018 honorable mention All-NLC). Juniors — Abigail Richner. Sophomores — Breanna Goss (co-captain), Cybil Stillson (co-captain, 2018 IHSCGA All-State, All-NLC).

Other varsity candidates: Sophomore — Bella Sechrist. Freshmen — Riley Kitson, Kira Schrock.

Comments: “Our season expectations are two-fold as always: give ourselves a realistic chance to win the NLC title and to qualify for the IHSAA East Noble Regional,” coach Yoder said. “We return a lot of players with heavy tournament experience. We have lost four-year letterwinners, MacKenzie Weaver and Abby Slabaugh, from last year’s team, but return five girls who played at least 18 holes in the IHSAA State Finals in 2018, including 2018 IHSGCA All-Stater, Cybil Stillson. We are very excited about our senior class, the rest of the returnees and our newcomers.”

WAWASEE

Coach: Steve Coverstone, 7th season.

Assistant Coach: Laura Coverstone.

Returning letterwinners: Belle Brunner, Tate Cowan, Taylor Cripe, Valerie Haessig, Ava Harker, Jadison Rostochak.

Other varsity candidates: Sydni Ewing, Rylee Firestone, Rhiann Galloway, Ayla Torres.

Comments: "I am looking forward to the season,” coach Coverstone said. “We have a nicely balanced team in terms of experience. We should go six or seven deep as far as varsity potential.”

WEST NOBLE

Coach: Randy Younce, 2nd season.

Assistant Coach: Jim Godfrey.

2018 record: 9-5.

Returning letterwinners: Seniors — Kiara Campos, Hannah Godfrey.

Other varsity candidates: Junior — Kacee Click. Sophomores — Sara Gross, Mikalyla Nichols.

Comments: “This will be a rebuilding year, as we lost loss four of top five golfers to graduation,” coach Younce said.

WESTVIEW

Coach: Jeff Marchant, 4th season.

Returning letterwinner: Senior — Chelsea Weaver.

Other varsity candidates: Sophomores — Lillian Eash, Hannah Klein. Freshmen — Ava Brown, Hope Haarer.

Comments: “We have a full team this year and we are looking forward to a fun season,” coach Marchant said.

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