A year after sending three of its shooters to state, Marshfield girls golf hopes for similar qualification to the final stages in 2021.
The Lady Jays had a trio who played at the Class 2 tourney Meadow Lake Acres Country Club in New Bloomfield. Just one has graduated: Betsy Whitehurst, who tied for 29th with a 194.
Back are two other qualifiers. Grace Clark is one of several seniors returning and aiming to again be a representative at state after she qualified by tying for 18th in districts at Payne Stewart Golf Course.
The other is sophomore Marlee Edgeman, who will lead the team and should be among the best golfers in not just the Big 8 but the entire class. She finished four strokes off first at districts, then took ninth with a 165 at state.
“Marlee’s shot her best rounds here in Marshfield within the last couple weeks, so that’s exciting for her to be shooting some of her personal best scores right now,” Marshfield coach Cheratin Hunter said. “Hopefully, that’ll carry over into the season.”
Of last year, Edgeman said, "I feel like I've gotten a lot more confident knowing I finished top-10 at state, and going to big tournaments, doing well [over the summer], that's made my confidence grow."
Edgeman said a focus this summer and going forward is working on her wedge shots and short game, knowing she'll be using plenty of it this fall.
Hunter is looking forward to Clark’s performance and added, “I think that coming off state last year, that’s really motivated her and given her an idea of what she can accomplish.”
Another of the seniors, Brianna Henderson, appears to be the team’s No. 3.
“She’ll be stepping up into a big role, and she’s done nothing but improve,” Hunter said. “I think she’ll do a good job of stepping into those shoes.”
The rest of the roster includes senior Annika Rust, junior Taylor Martin, sophomores Loralei Blanch and Norah Hopper, and freshman Libbey Kastning.
On who might be the No. 4 at tournaments, Hunter said, "I don't really know yet to be honest. I have a few that are in the midst of competing for that spot. This week's practice will probably kind of determine who it will be, but it's wide open right now."
Whoever wins it will be part of the quartet who competes in the season opening tournament hosted by defending Class 2 champion Springfield Catholic on Sept. 1 at Payne Stewart.
“I like that tournament because it’s both JV and varsity, so it gives all our players some experience and allows us to see where we’re at both as a team and individually,” Hunter said. “Catholic is a great squad, so it’s fun to see where Marlee matches up with them, as well as the rest of our team.”