Times Sports Editor
Forest Park Golf Course was a bit of a proving ground on Tuesday evening as Northview's squad got a look at several future sectional opponents that will be battling with the Knights for one of three berths to the regional in two weeks on the same course.
Rockville, South Putnam and South Vermillion and the Knights each took to the course that will play host to the Northview Sectional on Sept. 19.
Coach Josh Trout had to be happy with how the Knights responded to the competition, shooting a 192 to edge second-place South Putnam in a nine hole match played on the course's back nine.
The Knights edged the Eagles by 11 strokes, though South Putnam's Heather Hughes claimed medalist honors with her 42.
The Eagles are likely to be one of the teams to challenge the Knights the most strongly for a final regional berth as Terre Haute North and South should come in as prohibitive favorites for the top two spots in the team race. The Eagles were fourth in the sectional last season, ironically, also 11 strokes behind the Knights. Trout believes that South Putnam has the experience and the ability to give Northview a run for its money on the Knights' home course.
"South Putnam is a tough group of girls with a lot of returning players," Trout said. "Heather Hughes has been a very solid No. 1 for them for I think three years. It's good to get some competition that your going to get in sectionals and this kind of shows us where we stand. Heather had a really good round too with two birdies for low medalist."
The Knights' depth aided their cause as both Mandy Thomlinson and Olivia Oehler carded a 44 in the victory. Thomlinson started the round well, shooting a birdie on the par-5, ninth hole.
"That was big, especially for us it's important to get off to a good start and get our confidence level up and try to maintain it," Trout said. "Golf is such a game of highs and lows so keeping that positive mental attitude is easier when you get off to a good start. Hopefully you can maintain that throughout the round and I think the girls did that tonight.
"For Olivia and Mandy, a 44 on the back is pretty solid and Shelby (French) with a 52, that's a pretty nice score for her too," added Trout.
Northview also got a 52 from Allison Trout, a 54 from Kaylee Mason and a 67 from Samantha Gibbens in the victory.
With just four regular season matches heading into the sectional, Trout feels that it's important to continue building confidence.
"It's especially nice to get these wins heading into a big week, we go to Sullivan (tonight) and Greencastle on Thursday. So it's good to get a little momentum to start a long week," Trout said.
At Forest Park Golf Course
Team Scores: Northview 192, South Putnam 203, South Vermillion 214, Rockville 246
Olivia Oehler 44, Mandy Thomlinson 44, Allison Trout 52, Shelby French 52, Kaylee Mason 54, Samantha Gibbens 67
South Putnam (203)
Heather Hughes 42, Grace Aker 48, Cierra Perry 56, Kelsey Searles 57, Robbie Urton 61
Milam 50, Bruce 53, Gilbert 55, Powell 56, Mack 56
Moore 60, Wheeler 61, Gregg 61, Sandusky 64, Goetz 67
Next match: Northview travels to Sullivan to take on the Golden Arrows at the Sullivan Elks Course tonight.