PREBLE COUNTY — National Trail’s girls’ golf team will be seeking to make its way back to the state tournament as team, while Eaton will field a full team for the first time.
Jones to lead Blazers
Led by two-time state-qualifier Makenna Jones, National Trail’s girls golf team expects to challenge for a spot at the state tournament in Columbus at the end the season.
Last season the Blazers finished second in the Cross County Conference and return thee players from that team.
“Our expectation for the girls is also to continue daily improvement, but as a team to compete for the CCC title. We know Miami East and Fort Loramie are the teams we will be contending with and we have to continue to work hard,” Trail coach Troy Ferguson said. “We have a good mix of experience and youth with Makenna and Savanna both two-year letter-winners and Caitlin from last year’s team that competed for the league, with the additions of our freshmen and Makena (Laird) returning, there’s a great core that really want to improve and love to compete.”
As a freshman Jones placed in the top-10 at state and she made a return trip as a sophomore and finished 22nd.
Also back is senior Savanna Abner and sophomore Caitlin Gilland.
Makena Laird returns after not playing a sophomore.
Newcomers this year include freshmen Katelyn Hines, Brooklyn Middleton and Avery Rutan.
“The girls are off to a tremendous start with two, first place finishes along with a second and third place finish in their invites,” Ferguson said. “We had a 6th place finish at Fairborn, but the girls competed with Division one schools like Centerville and Ursuline Academy that both placed teams in the state tournament last year, so it was a good experience for them. Our ultimate goal is to make the trip to Columbus as a team. We want to win the league first, then set our sights on the state tournament.”
Early on Jones has been on a mission.
“Makenna continues to dominate the early season schedule winning Medalist honors in each of the 4 invitationals she has competed in. We obviously she has her sights set on Columbus, but we want to get the team there this year and compete as a team,” Ferguson said.
Eagles gaining experience
Last year Eaton played one varsity match while the rest of the matches they competed on the boys junior varsity team.
Tim Appledorn has a team comprised of a junior, three sophomores and a freshman.
“Last year was a learning year for all the girls and this will be a more competitive year. This year will be a growing year and I expect that we will be very competitive. The ultimate goal will be to have a chance to make it to districts. Its a lofty goal but its obtainable,” Appledorn said.
Leading the way for the Eagles will be sophomore Ainesleigh Elstro, who could also see time on the boys varsity team.
In addition to Elstro, the Eagles return sophomore Alina Fore, who played on the JV boys team last year and sophomore Carly Bricker, who also played on the boys JV team.
Newcomers this year include freshman Kyla Mize and junior Hikaru Sato.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH