Four defeat host golfers

Bryan Veginski

Washington is young on the girls golf scene, but there is optimism for the future.

The Lady Panthers have no seniors on this year’s squad. Combined with the quintet’s positive demeanor, the program could be on the rise.

“If they stick with it, we should be pretty decent,” said WCHS girls head coach Matt Reiser about the coming years. “I’ve seen improvement already.”

The squad this year consists of: junior Crystal Bailey and freshmen Mackenzie Barker, Ellen Corbin, Brianna Salmi and Aleigha Welty.

Many of the players have taken lessons, but were new to competitive golf. As they get more comfortable this fall, their scores should come down. 

“They’re enthusiastic about practice and they all get along well,” Reiser said about the golfers. He added there has been a lot of parental support at matches.

With several seventh graders coming in a couple years, Washington could have nice numbers in 2010. Any other additions would further strengthen the team.

Although the Lady Panthers are not expected to knock off any Mid-Illini Conference foes, the girls still can pick up points individually in an effort to earn an all-league slot.

The primary losses from last year’s team were Molly Wells and Kacy Karcher, both of whom were second-team all-league recipients as seniors.

Washington has finished fifth both years since girls golf was added as a full-fledged conference sport.

Reiser said most of the M-I teams are young, so the league should grow stronger in the coming years.

The Lady Panthers opened Aug. 26 with a triangular loss to Metamora and Canton at Fairlakes Golf Course.

Barker led Washington with a 51 on the par-35 front nine as the team totaled a 235.

Corbin had a 54, Salmi a 63 and Welty a 67 in Secor for the hosts.

The Redbirds had a 183, while the Lady Giants were in the middle with a 214.

Two days later, the Lady Panthers were upended by visiting Princeton, 189-239.

With a 55, Barker was two strokes ahead of Corbin.

Bailey chipped in a 63 and Salmi had a 64.

Three of the four Princeton scores used were in the 40s.

Dunlap claimed a 216-240 win Sept. 2 in Washington’s third consecutive home match.

Corbin nipped Barker by a stroke for low Lady Panther honors with her 55 on the front side at Fairlakes.

Salmi had a 60 and Welty carded a 69 in the M-I dual.