Lady Pilgrims host golf invite

PLYMOUTH — After earning a trio of regional berths last season, three area girls golf teams are hoping to pick up where they left off last fall.
While Penn won with a 310 led by Kari Bellville’s low medalist 71, NorthWood carded a 358 for runner-up honors at the Plymouth Invitational Wednesday. The host Lady Pilgrims turned in a 412 for seventh place, meanwhile, and John Glenn finished five strokes back in eighth place at the Plymouth Country Club.
The Lady Panthers, who earned runner-up honors at last year’s East Noble Sectional on their way to a ninth-place finish in the regional round of the 2012 state tourney, return letterwinners at four of their top five positions led by senior Heidi Morganthaler, who just missed a state berth in a one-hole playoff at the East Noble Regional last season, and freshman Summer Stillson adds to the mix as a solid number three for NorthWood. Morganthaler shot 78 to finish in a tie for second-place individual honors with Penn’s Katie Willenbrink — the Kingsmen’s top four scores were all among the top five overall at the invite — pacing the Panthers after struggling at the start of Wednesday’s round.
“She bogeyed her first four holes there out of the gate finding a lot of sand traps there in those first four holes. I’m really proud of the way that she hung in there,” said NorthWood coach Adam Yoder. “She could’ve just packed it in and carded something in the 80s, but she didn’t. She made a couple birdies coming back in and had a lot of fun. Just a really mentally tough round.”
Freshman Stillson shot 86 behind Morganthaler, while Linnzie Richner carded a 93, and Rachael Beebe turned in a 101. Kayla Stankovich turned in a 105 in the fifth spot for NorthWood.
NorthWood has jumped headlong into the season as Wednesday’s Plymouth Invite was the third 18-hole round in three days for the team, which placed third at the Lafayette Harrison Invitational Monday and sixth at the Lafayette Jefferson Booster Invitational Tuesday. The Panthers have some high expectations for themselves, and, while they’re off to a good start, they’re far from finished says Yoder.
“I think the girls have some high expectations, but we’re just trying not to get ahead of ourselves right now. We haven’t accomplished anything yet. We get second place today, but that’s a far cry from where we want to be at the end of the year. If we can just keep getting better, that’s kind of our goal,” he said.
“This is a very experienced team, and they’ve got a pretty good mindset about competitive golf. Good things are coming, I think. We’ll see.”
Plymouth was led by senior Emily Denney’s 94, while Morgan Oberly shot 102, Kylee Rippy carded a 107, and Katie Johnson shot 109 on the Pilgrims’ home course. The hosts were the only team to field a complete JV lineup at the meet, and Megan Egierski turned in the school’s second best score with a round of 101 to lead the Plymouth White team Wednesday. Katie McDonald shot 107, Katelynn Culp carded 117, and Emily Listenburger shot 140.
It was just the second match of the year for the team after a ninth-place finish at the Lafayette Harrison Invite Monday, and with a new head coach in Chris Tilbury, the Lady Pilgrims are still shuffling their lineup around. Alyssa Egierski, Kelly Henderson and Lauren Kolter all sat out Wednesday’s round after competing in the team’s season-opener at Harrison, and Tilbury said he expects plenty more changes to his top five as he feels the team out early.
“Right now we’re in kind of a process of finding out who our varsity players are going to be. You’ll see in the future here in the next couple weeks there are going to be a lot of lineups and a lot of different names in there and a lot of names left out,” he said. “It has nothing to do with how they’re playing, it just simply has to do with I’m trying to find the best five come conference time. That’s a difficult thing with how short the girls season is. I met the girls last Friday and now we’re talking about trying to find a roster three days later, and that’s somewhat of a difficult thing to do.”
Tilbury, the PGA pro at the Plymouth Country Club, is the third head coach in three years for Plymouth. He takes the reins from Bruce Rearick, who guided the Pilgrims to a third-place finish and a regional berth out of last year’s Warsaw Sectional, who in turn took over for 2011 coach Jack Kinney. The transition has been relatively seamless so far, says Tilbury, who is focusing on team-building in the early going and relying heavily on his seniors for leadership.
“It’s been very smooth; the girls have been very welcoming,” he said. “We set out some goals right at the beginning of the season that are difficult, but they’re attainable. Most of them have gotten on board with what we want to do so we’re excited about that. The girls have been a pleasure to work with. They’re a special team.”
While the Pilgrims finished in seventh with a 412, John Glenn finished right at their hosts’ heels with a 417 for eighth place Wednesday.
Emma Reese shot 100 to lead the team followed by freshman Anna Schmeltz’s 101, and Madeleine Silvey and Morgan Eggleston carded dual 108s. Kaylee Matz shot 109 for the Falcons’ fifth score.
The team returns all of its top five from last year’s squad, which earned a Lafayette Jefferson Regional berth for the first time in school history. Reese, Silvey, Eggleston, Matz and junior Presley Gee — who played as an extra Wednesday — are all back from that history-making squad, and Schmeltz makes a strong addition to the experienced lineup.
“Everybody all shot under 109. We’re all cramped together like a cross country team, I guess, and that’s a good thing,” said head coach Randy Schmeltz.
“Our match yesterday we had a 212 over at Round Barn, and that’s our best starting match in the last four or five years. We should be better (than last year). The 212 we shot yesterday is, I don’t know, 40 shots better than what we shot last year in our first match — 40 or 50 shots — and what we shot today is a little bit better than what we shot last year. We should just keep improving all year long.”
At Plymouth Country Club
Team scores: 1. Penn 310, 2. NorthWood 358, 3. Warsaw 381, 4. South Bend St. Joe 386, 5. South Bend Adams 403, 6. Goshen 410, 7. Plymouth Red 412, 8. John Glenn 417, 9. West Noble. 420, 10. Mishawaka Marian 434, 11. Plymouth White 475, 12. Elkhart Memorial 487, 13. Tippecanoe Valley 490, Mishawaka WD, LaVille WD.
Low medalist: Kari Bellville (Penn) 71.
2. NORTHWOOD (358): Heidi Morganthaler 78, Linnzie Richner 93, Summer Stillson 86, Rachael Beebe 101, Kayla Stankovich 105.
7. PLYMOUTH RED (412): Emily Denney 94, Morgan Oberly 102, Katie Johnson 109, Kylee Rippy 107, Makayla Fox DQ.
8. JOHN GLENN (417): Madeleine Silvey 108, Anna Schmeltz 101, Emma Reese 100, Morgan Eggleston 108, Kaylee Matz 109.
11. PLYMOUTH WHITE (475): Megan Egierski 101, Katie McDonald 107, Katelynn Culp 117, Emily Listenberger 140.