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Green girls golf team features blend of youth, experience

8/15/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

GREEN — Green High School girls golf head coach Jake Shocklee said this year’s team will feature four returning letter-winners and an especially strong freshman class.

“I’m very excited about our entire freshman class,” he said. “We actually have 13 girls who made varsity or junior varsity this year, and six of those 13 are freshmen. It’s something that I knew was coming down the road, and it’s just a matter of having the opportunity to work with them every day.”

Last year, the team had a 12-2 overall record and a 5-2 mark in the Suburban League.

“We ended up finishing second in our league,” the coach stated. “We lost to Highland and Wadsworth.”

Following the season, the team lost two seniors (Hannah Maczko and Emily Howerton) to graduation. Shocklee said those two players were his “top two golfers” in 2012.

“I have four girls back who played varsity last year,” the coach stated. “Three of those returning players are seniors this season and one of them is a sophomore.”

Two of the team’s seniors this year are twins: Jocelyn Claytor and Shannon Claytor.

“They’ve been associated with the Green girls golf program for five or six years now. They came up through our junior program,” Shocklee said. “They’ve been really steady for us. Jocelyn played in the fourth spot for us last year, and Shannon was our five or six, just depending on who we were going against. I would expect them to perform well and to lead us through experience.”

The team’s other returning senior is Allie Stanley, who was named second-team all-Suburban league in 2012.

“She played in my three spot last year, and that’s probably where she’ll end up playing this year. She was solid in that spot,” the coach said. “Allie was very consistent last year. She scored in almost every match.”

According to Shocklee, sophomore Madison Jackson will be looking to take another step forward in her development this season.

“Madison played pretty much in either my five or six spot last year,” he said. “She has tons of potential. She hits the ball really far. She’s still relatively young to the game of golf. In fact, she decided last year right before tryouts to actually try out for the team, and she was good enough athletically to make the team. She lettered last year as a true freshman.”

New to the team this season are two freshmen who Shocklee said he expects to play in his top two spots this year.

“Brooke Babbin and Abbie Pearce are two young ladies who have grown up playing golf since a very young age. They’ve played in summer tournaments and they’ve traveled,” the coach said. “I have really high expectations for them, and they have really high expectations for themselves.”

Shocklee said he has been pleased with what he has seen from his underclassmen so far.

“My initial thoughts were that being young — having two freshmen and a sophomore on the varsity team — we could struggle with some decision-making, but I’ve been pretty happy with our decision-making so far,” he stated. “Their skill level has really shown. Their ability to play the game and to manage the game has been fun to watch. As the season progresses, I hope we’re able to work on improving some of the little things.”

However, Shocklee said, the team’s overall lack of experience won’t be accepted as an excuse this year.

“Our goal every year is to win our league championship, regardless of experience,” he said. “It’s been a difficult task because Highland is so strong, but that will always be our No. 1 goal. We also want to qualify for the district tournament and move on from there, both individually and as a team.”

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