St. Croix Central golfers return to Middle Border Conference for 2011If the St. Croix Central girls golf team had to take one year away from the Middle Border Conference, last year was a good time for the Panthers to be away from the MBC.
If the St. Croix Central girls golf team had to take one year away from the Middle Border Conference, last year was a good time for the Panthers to be away from the MBC.
The Panthers were painfully inexperienced golfers last season. Not being in a conference for one year gave the Panthers time to concentrate on improving their skills, instead of feeling the pressure to compete.
This year the Middle Border Conference coaches voted to have Central return to the MBC for girls golf competition. The return is well timed. The Panthers now have five players who have a year’s worth of varsity experience and they feel they can compete with most teams in the MBC this season.
“We’ll be much improved,” Panther coach Dave Larson said about the 2011 edition of the Central team.
The returning players form a solid varsity unit. Senior Kelsey McKenna, junior Arinn DiSalvo and sophomores Katlyn Delander, Rebecca Isnardi and Janelle Olson went through last season together and came out with much more refined golf skills.
Larson said DiSalvo has the ability to shoot below 50 in every round and the four others can score within the low to mid 50s. Those scores would put the Panthers near the 200-mark, an immense improvement from where they scored last season.
Being away from the MBC last year makes it difficult for Larson to gauge how well the Panthers might do in the conference this season. He said he expects New Richmond and Osceola to be the favorites in the battle for the conference title. Larson chose to set a goal for the team that they can pursue at the end of the season.
“I think it’s real reasonable that if we play well, a team goal would be to get to the sectionals,” Larson said.
The experience the Panthers gained last season allows Larson the chance to give them more advanced coaching this season. He said the five returnees have a solid grasp of their swing mechanics and the physical aspects of the game. His coaching this year turns more toward the mental side of golf. He plans to work more with the girls on how to avoid “blow up holes” that inflate their scores. He said a first goal for the varsity players is to have no double digit scores on their card. The next step will be to have no scores above an eight.
Another aspect of the improvement is the consistency and confidence. Larson said the varsity players “have developed nice swings and are hitting some very nice shots.” But he said they can’t get frustrated when they hit a bad shot. He quoted a golf saying, “golf is not a game of perfect.”
The Panthers have three freshmen who have joined the team this season. Erin Amundson, Haley Boles and Kelly Wengelski will be able to gradually develop their golf games with the five older girls handling the varsity positions.