By Lenny Sementi
The boys and girls golf teams opened up the 2022-23 school year this past week at Iron Horse Golf Club taking on a very strong Monticello squad in a three-team event that included Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley. Girls coach Nollan Woller and boys coach Angie Gough are both entering the second year at the helm of their respective programs. The duo boasts a combined ten returning players in all and the largest contingent in recent history with seventeen teeing it up to start the season.
On the girls side coach Woller’s welcomes back his top two from a year ago in seniors Makenna Fiscus, Marley Good and Molly Macaulay. Fiscus had a good some summer heading into her final tour of central Illinois golf courses. She took home some hardware claiming medalist honors at the Rend Lake Junior Open carding an 83.
Both Fiscus and Good advanced to the sectionals a year ago and Macaulay was a near miss playing her best golf at the end of the season. Senior Isabelle Wilcox and junior Zoey Thomason return to the squad after stepping away for a season. “I think both girls can make a big impact early on,” stated Woller. “The summer went well, many of the girls were able to practice on go play a few times a week.”
Another Junior Addyson Ring who was playing her best golf at the end of her sophomore campaign will look to make some waves as well. Fiscus led the way on opening night this past Thursday the 11th with a 51 on the front nine at Iron Horse. Good was next up with a 55, followed by Wilcox and Macaulay to round out the scoring. Ring and Thomason served as alternates.
“We have some loft expectations, the first is to win conference as a team with a few girls medaling,” Woller said. “Makenna medaled last year and I think we are better throughout the lineup. I would like to see all of our scores improve as we go. We are looking to our four seniors to lead by example, and I personally have set the goal of advancing to the sectional level as a team, we were so close last season but were short players due to COVID so could not score as a team.”
Coach Gough and the boys will be a young, no seniors on the roster but experienced group. A pair of juniors will show four sophomores and two freshmen the ropes. Third year golfer Brayden Gough was the number one a year ago, garnering team MVP honors and boasting the lowest scoring average. Gough had a good summer, improving his overall game and will be counted on to show the way.
Classmate Chris Atwater put in some time on the links this summer as well. “Chris is a great kid,” stated coach Gough. “He has improved a great deal and should be one of our scorers.
The duo led the way in the first match verse a very good Monticello squad. Gough was second overall with a 42 while Atwater secured the two hole for the Warriors with a 49. “Monticello is a very strong team,” the coach said. “The match went well, we competed and I was pleased with the boys performance.”
Sophomores Jacob Waugh and Kade Wilcox return to squad from a year ago. Coach Gough sees a lot of improvement from last year and will look for them to be key contributors in matches. Waugh occupied the three hole in the first outing while Wilcox was just a few strokes out of scoring touring the course as the first alternate.
New the program is sophomore Aiden Devlin. Devlin spent a lot of his down time on the course the past two months and it showed as the rookie scored in the first meet of his career. “Aiden has been a nice surprise, and is playing well,” Gough said. “I look forward to seeing his progress over the course of the season.”
Classmate Carson Gaines and freshman Ryker Gough and Brayden Smith are also taking the first swings in the black and gold. “Carson and Ryker have both shown promise,” Gough quipped. “Both have the ability to being at the varsity level sooner than later. Brayden is new to the game, and is improving every day.”
Gough is very excited for what this group has to offer in her second go round and is also happy to have both her sons in the mix. The boys will look to do some damage at the conference meet late in the season at a very tough Eagle Creek Course hosted by Shelbyville. They will play the Rams at the course during the regular season giving them the opportunity to play it before the league tourney.