Collinsville is counting on varsity veterans
September 13, 2012By Chris Kusnerick of Collinsville High School
If experience means anything, the Collinsville girls golf team could take a big step forward this season.
“At the tail end of last year, I saw a lot of improvement and that was encouraging because I was only going to lose one player and I didn’t have her the whole season because she got hurt,” Collinsville coach Bruce Thomas said. “Sarah Crafton qualified out of the regional into the sectional and Rachel Rogers improved her average by nine strokes from her sophomore year to her junior year.
“Lauren Albertina was playing well and I lost her to illness and injury. With four seniors coming back plus a good group of younger girls, I’m really looking forward to this year.”
Crafton is the Kahoks’ No. 1 golfer, followed by fellow seniors Rogers and Albertina. Courtney Otradovec, the team’s lone senior, is No. 4.
“Albertina is still working out some problems with her swing, but we’re hoping to get that corrected before too long,” said Thomas, whose fourth senior is Katie Ashmann. “After those top four kids, we’ve been working players in and out of the lineup.”
Newcomers include freshmen Sidney Bost, Addison Wickiser and Miranda Rogers and sophomore Alex Holten.
“Alex, Sidney and Allison are all softball players, so I know they’re good athletes,” Thomas said. “Abby Wicklein, who is a returning sophomore, tore up her knee and had an ACL operation in February, so she hasn’t been cleared for full-time play this year. Another sophomore, Allison Tyberendt, has been working on her game and taking lessons and I think she’s going to be a lot better.
“Sidney’s score has counted several times and so has Alex, so that’s encouraging. The younger kids are showing they can contribute, even if it’s a matter of just picking up somebody higher in the lineup if they’ve had a tough night. I don’t think there’s a golf coach around, regardless of how good their lineup is, that isn’t looking for that fourth score.”
Heading into Monday’s home match against Alton at Arlington Greens, Collinsville was 4-9 in dual matches, including a 1-2 mark in the Southwestern Conference. The Kahoks were in the Alton Redbird Tournament Saturday at the Woodlands and opened the season Aug. 14 in the Madison County Tournament at Gateway. The O’Fallon Lady Panthers Tournament, slated for Aug. 31 at Tamarack, was rained out and rescheduled for Sept. 21.
“The season is short, but that’s a good thing because you’re coming out of the summer and hopefully the girls have been playing, so they should be ready to go,” Thomas said. “It’s better than coming out of a snowbank, which is what could happen if the seasons were flipped and you were playing in the spring.
“Overall, I’m happy with this group. The kids won an academic award from the IHSA because of their grade-point average last season and in our meeting to start this season, one of the first things I did was to congratulate them.