Lillie Cone 2021

Lillie Cone earned her second straight individual medal at the Angola Sectional last season.

The 2022-23 high school sports year officially kicks off today with the first practices for girls golf teams. Many teams will hold tryouts today, and tournaments can begin as soon as Monday.

The girls golf season always passes quickly – sectionals are slated for Sept. 16-19, regionals will follow Sept. 24, and the state finals will be Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

Recently, Homestead has been the local standout, finishing first or second at the state tournament in each of the last three years. Can that streak of dominance continue as younger Spartans step up?

Players

Cassidy Ayres, Homestead: Ayres is just entering her junior season, but she has already made two trips to the state finals with the Spartans, placing 29th in 2021. She was third at the Norwell Sectional at Timber Ridge last year, shooting a 6-over 78, and her 76 at the East Noble Regional at Noble Hawk would’ve easily been enough to punch her ticket to the state finals as an individual. This month, she finished one stroke behind Makenna Hostetler to place second at the Women’s City Tournament.

Lillie Cone, DeKalb: The Barons senior has claimed individual medalist honors at the last two Angola Sectional tournaments, improving her winning score from 85 at Zollner Golf Course as a sophomore to 77 last year. She is also the defending NE8 Tournament champion and shot 74 at Noble Hawk in the East Noble Regional to advance as an individual to the state tournament, where she placed 31st.

Scarlett Senk, Homestead: Senk, now a junior, played in the state finals for the first time in 2021, placing 33rd after shooting 21-over for the two-day tournament. She placed fourth – trailing only Spartans teammates – by shooting 79 at the Norwell Regional, then shot 79 again at the East Noble Regional to help Homestead secure a sixth straight regional title.

Marissa GeRue, Carroll: The junior has qualified for the state finals in each of her first two seasons with the Chargers, placing 34th in 2021. She was the individual medalist at the East Noble Sectional last year, shooting 75 (+3) to help Carroll to a team title.

Amy Frazier, Bishop Dwenger: The senior is back with Bishop Dwenger after playing for Homestead during the 2020 season. She finished second at the SAC Tournament and was the individual medalist for the Saints as a freshman and then was a key member of the Spartans’ lineup in their state runner-up finish in 2020. More recently, she placed third at this month’s Women’s City Tournament.

Teams

Homestead: Madison Dabagia and Simone Senk were two of the best golfers in the state in recent years, and both graduated this summer. But the other three members of Homestead’s 2021 championship lineup were all sophomores who performed admirably on the biggest stages – all five Spartans, for example, placed in the top half of the 100-golfer field at the state finals. It’s also hard to overstate how far ahead the Spartans have been in local competition: Homestead won the East Noble Regional by 25 strokes and the Norwell Sectional by 80.

Carroll: After a disappointing end to the regular season, the Chargers put the pieces together at the right time to win the 2021 East Noble Sectional at Cobblestone with a team score of 323. They placed fourth at the East Noble Regional at Noble Hawk, just nine strokes back from Penn, which claimed the last team qualifying spot, and they have their top three back.

Columbia City: The Eagles were the NE8 regular-season and tournament champs, beating runner-up Bellmont by 25 strokes at Cross Creek in the tournament. Columbia City also placed second at the East Noble Sectional and sixth (third among area teams) at the regional. Although NE8 runner-up Abby Pequignot has since graduated, the four other members of the lineup were all underclassmen and three return (Niya Bell transferred to Northrop).

Bishop Dwenger: The Saints won the 2021 SAC Tournament with all five golfers finishing in the top 10. Four of those five are returning this season, and Frazier is being added back into the mix. The Saints also placed second at the Angola Sectional, placing seven strokes behind …

Snider: Bishop Dwenger beat the Panthers in six meetings before the sectional tournament, but Snider got the best of their SAC rivals at Zollner. The Panthers, who placed second in the SAC Tournament after winning in 2020, also finished 10th at the East Noble Regional.