Hickam caps off freshman season
Lauren Hickam had some definite goals in mind even as a freshman entering her first season with the Douglas High girls golf program in August.
Among those goals was to earn a trip to the state Division I tournament, which Hickam accomplished and then followed up with a 14th-place performance last week at Primm Valley Golf Club.
“I was pleased. I kind of figured if she could get top-15, that would be a pretty good accomplishment for a freshman,” Douglas coach Stephen Gustafson said. “She played two pretty decent solid, very consistent rounds. When you look at her season average, for her to shoot 80 and 83, she was right there on an unknown course. She’s very familiar with these Northern courses, so to stay consistent on an unknown course is a good thing.”
Hickam shot 9-over par 80 in the first round on Oct. 21, good for 12th-place, and finished with an 83 at Primm Valley’s Lakes Course.
“It was set up well for her,” Gustafson said. “It wasn’t a difficult golf course, but it wasn’t an easy golf course. She just went out and did what she needed to do.
She had a pretty good introduction to the sport considering her father, Bob Hickam, is the former head golf professional at Clear Creek Tahoe Golf Club.
“She had a pretty good summer and carried that into the fall,” Gustafson said. “She set some pretty lofty goals and she accomplished a few of them.”
Hickam narrowly missed achieving one more goal during the first round of the state tournament when she tied her season best of 80. She had previous shot 80 at Eagle Valley East and in the regular season-ending match at ArrowCreek (for medalist honors).
“Making state was one goal. Breaking 80 was another goal and I came pretty close,” she said.
Hickam started her final round on a positive note when she birdied the first hole for the first time this season.
“The first day, I had a really good drive and then I made par,” she said. “But the second day, I hit an even better drive and then I stuck it to within one foot and then I made the putt for birdie.
“That was bad luck, though, because then I kind of went on a bogey streak from there. I still had a good day, but it definitely could have been better.”
Gustafson pointed out that Hickam’s performance compared well against other underclassmen in the field from both the North and South. She had the fifth best score from the North.
“Come two or three years from now, we’re hoping that will carry through,” he said.
This season was also a successful one for Douglas overall. The Tigers won two Sierra League regular season matches — at Wolf Run and the regular-season finale at ArrowCreek — finished second in the league overall. Among the highlights were a season-best team score of 357 at Eagle Valley East, 360 at ArrowCreek, 371 at Sierra Sage and 373 at Wolf Run.
“It was a pretty good season,” Gustafson said. “We had nine girls on the team and every single one of them had a chance to go out and play this year, which was fun.”
“Unfortunately, we had a lot of seniors who are going to leave, good kids, so we’re going to have to try and rebuild a complete team from scratch next year. So we’ll just have to kind of see what happens,” the coach added.
Those seniors included fourth-year veterans Mari Pimental and Amanda Davidson, in addition to Emma Sperry, Mackenzie Rose, Paige Jones and Sydney Cotton.
“I’ll miss them,” Stephenson said, letting out a deep breath. “It’s going to be tough to replace these kids. I’ve known them for years, even the ones who just joined this year. Even though they weren’t part of the program, I knew them when I was at the middle school, and it’s been great to see them grow up to become young women. I know good things will come for them in the future.”