With the star player on the bench to begin the season, someone has to step up.
The Lady Wave golf team begins the year with two-time state qualifier Carissa Parsons on the injured list, leaving the door open for the rest of the team to step up and make some noise in the Northern Division I-A.
“Like anything else, she was our most outstanding player last year, the last two years, actually,” Fallon coach Phil Pinder said of Parsons, who dislocated her elbow a week before practice. “When you lose your player who has the best scoring, it definitely has an effect.”
And so far after a week of practice, the challenge has been accepted.
“We’re starting off ahead of what we were last year in terms of striking the ball,” Pinder said. “Hopefully, our scores will come down. We’ve just been working more on our swing, working on particular clubs for yardage, and working on chipping and putting.”
Still able to field a complete team for scoring with four players, Pinder will lean on senior Tabetha Park, a three-time letter winner who narrowly missed qualifying for state last year. Junior Sara Evans returns for her third season while junior Vivane Ugalde is in her second season. Parsons, who is out at least four to six weeks, is also a junior and Hannah Evans joins the team as a freshman.
“Everyone has to pick up,” Pinder said. “In terms of we haven’t played a match or practice match, everyone knows now that (Parsons) was our fifth player. Now, everybody’s scores are going to count. Obviously, we have enough for a team. No scores will be thrown out for us.”
Compared to last year, the numbers aren’t as high, but Pinder feels confident with this year’s group and the future of girls golf.
“The interest in terms of golf seems like it’s gone down a little bit,” he said. “It seems like it runs in cycles for us anyway. Obviously, the Huckabys do a great job with the junior golf program. We’re competing against so many other sports. Some kids specialize in one sport instead of go into multiple.”
But like every season, the goal is improvement from the first tournament to the last and hopefully a state berth. With Park missing out last year, the senior golfer is in good shape to end her career on a high note. Outside of the top three teams qualifying, only the top five golfers from non-qualifying teams advance to state.
“We’re certainly hoping if we don’t get in as a team but get as many individuals as possible,” said Pinder, who’s assisted by Sandy Vanderbeek.
Sara Evans returns with experience along with Park and Ugalde broke into the sport last year. Pinder said the returners played during the offseason, which should help the club this year.
“Getting back and playing again and seeing how much we can improve from last year,” Pinder said of what he looks forward to from his team. “And seeing how we stack up against the rest of the league.”
With Ugalde, Pinder said she’s made strides from last year while Hannah Evans played some over the summer.
“She’s obviously is much farther ahead than when she started out last year,” Pinder said of Ugalde. “I’m looking forward to her scores come down. That would be true of everybody. Obviously, I like to see where they start and the improvement over the years where they finish.”
Outside the ongoing season, the Fallon Golf Course underwent new management with the hiring of former Wave player Andy Hicks as the general manager as he works for Duncan Golf Management, which operates the course, to help provide support for the high school program. Hicks was on Fallon’s first state championship team when the Greenwave won it all in 2006.
“We’re obviously excited to work with a former player and he’s excited for us to be out there,” Pinder said. “Duncan Golf is very pro youth golf. We’re excited to work with them, too. They’ve done quite a bit of work and improvement since they’ve taken over.”