PREVIEW: Panthers return five of top six from state-qualifying team

The Monticello High School girls golf team, first row from left: Sophie Hodge, Karli Recker, Beka Prull and Paige Kremer. Second row: head coach Joe Steen, Lydia Franzenburg, Marissa McNally, Dru Kramer and Lilly Lambert. (Photo by Pete Temple)
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     They no longer have four-time state tournament qualifier Lauren Ries, but the Monticello Panthers have plenty going for them as the 2019 girls golf season begins.

     The Panthers return five of their top six golfers – minus Ries, who graduated – from the team that qualified for State last year and finished 10th.

     Lydia Franzenburg, Marissa McNally and Lilly Lambert are seniors, while Dru Kramer and Rebekah Prull are sophomores.

     “We have experience as our strength,” said 17th-year head coach Joe Steen. “We have five golfers who golfed in the state tournament last year and have multiple years of experience.”

     Steen said that if the team can be consistent, it has a chance to do big things again this season.

     “We need to shoot the same scores, or close, each meet,” Steen said. “Another issue will be handling the mental aspect of the game. The girls set high expectations and then get frustrated if they do not meet them. We need to focus on just playing golf.”

     The River Valley Conference has several strong teams, including usual contenders Durant and West Liberty, although Steen said that could change.

     “We were the favorites to win the conference last year and finished fifth,” Steen said. “But we should be in the mix again.”

     The team’s goals, he said, are to “have fun, win our conference, improve throughout the season and qualify for State.

     The key, Steen added is “just staying positive and not getting down on themselves if they are not playing how they think they should.”


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