After graduating a Division I scholarship golfer in Amy Thiemann who played in the state golf finals three of four years along with veteran Kelsey Smith, things might look to be up in the air for the Northview girls golf program.
While many might consider this a bit of a rebuilding year for the program, coach Teresa Akers is certainly not one of them.
"At this point, I am pleased with what I see, Akers commented recently. "Last year's team kept getting better as the season progressed. Potentially this group of golfers may exceed the accomplishments of the 2003 team," said the eighth year coach with a smile.
Exceeding the achievements of last year's squad might be difficult when you consider that the team won a sectional championship before placing second in regional competition. The team then made their third trip in four years to the state finals where they fell just short of making the first day cut.
However, a closer look points to a bright future for this year's crop of golfers.
Returning this season is Brittiney Cheek who was the only Northview golfer to advance to the second round in the state finals.
Cheek placed in a tie for 15th overall with back-to-back rounds of 83 at The Legends Course in Franklin. Her score in the 2003 tourney showed a marked improvement after rounds of 94 and 100 in the 2002 tournament, a characteristic that Akers believes makes this team surprisingly strong.
"Right now, we have at least five girls capable of being an individual medalist. That is the type of balance we want, Akers said. "Also, there are a couple more underclassmen that can help us from time to time and that is exciting," mentioned Akers.
One of those underclassmen is freshman Mary Beth Tribble who has already made an early splash in early tournaments this year.
Tribble shot a team leading 87 in the Brebeuf Invitational, just ahead of Cheek's score of 89 in the Valparaiso Invitational on Tuesday. Those scores came just one day after Cheek recorded a score of 85 in the Brebeuf Invitational with Tribble close behind with an 88.
"Cheekie (Brittiney Cheek) we expect to lead us, but Mary Beth surprised me with her scoring in the first two tournaments. Mary Beth is dedicated to becoming a better golfer and her extra hours of Summer play have paid off," Akers remarked.
"Mary Beth's sister, Theresa, was on my first team at Northview. Back then most girls didn't participate in Summer play. I think our program has improved here largely because of off-season dedication by most of our players," Akers said.
Other players with a considerable amount of Summer play are Jenae Huffman, Maggie Kirchner along with her younger sister Madison Kirchner and Millie Akers.
Maggie Kirchner and Akers each fired a 95 in the Brebeuf Invitational which saw the team improve their overall score by 38 strokes from one year ago. One day later at Aberdeen Golf Course at Valparaiso, Akers shaved 13 strokes from last year's score to shoot a 91 and Madison Kirchner was five strokes better than her 2003 score, finishing with a 93.
The Knights fired a team score of 363 at Monday's Brebeuf Jesuit Invitational at Hanging Tree Golf Course which was 17 strokes better than last year's score. Northview then responded by carding a team score of 360 at the Valparaiso Viking Invite, six strokes better than last season.
"In the first two days of the season we have played against five to seven of the best teams in Indiana. We are not at the same level of play as a handful of these teams, but if we keep working hard, then we could get back to the state finals again," Akers noted. "If we maintain our scoring balance and keep improving, then who knows?"
Northview takes part in the Edgewood Invitational today at Stonecrest Country Club, this year's site for the Western Indiana Conference Championship.