Lowered expectations aren’t an option for Jim Williams as he begins his 13th season as Center Grove’s girls golf coach.
Having qualified for the IHSAA Girls Golf State Finals each of the past two seasons — finishing 10th and sixth, respectively — Williams envisions another postseason push from his current squad.
Practices begin Friday for girls golf programs throughout Indiana.
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Trojans players hone their skills at Dye’s Walk Country Club and Hickory Stick Golf Club. It’s an opportunity for Williams to see which players are worthy of varsity status.
The Trojans open the season Monday at the annual Plainfield Invitational.
“This group has experience,” said Williams, whose top two returnees, seniors Shelby Schier and Hannah Wilson, were part of the Trojans lineup each of the past two state finals.
“Shelby and Hannah have been there before, so that experience will be invaluable for us. Most of our players have been working on their games this offseason and playing summer tournaments.”
Schier was Center Grove’s No. 2 player most of last season. She averaged an 18-hole score of 85 during the three postseason venues — Southport Sectional (The Legends Golf Club), Roncalli Regional (Smock Golf Course) and state finals (Prairie View Golf Club).
An 82 at in the sectional placed Schier second individually.
Wilson averaged an 86 at these same tournaments. This includes the 79 she shot at regional.
“I think if we work really hard we can be just as good as last year’s team,” said Wilson, who has worked hard this summer to improve her chipping. “We all do our thing during the offseason, but when our season starts we all buckle down.”
Sophomore Lucy Young played No. 5 for Center Grove throughout the postseason. Her scores, in order, were 86, 90 and 97.
“Lucy is one of the most even-keeled kids I’ve seen,” Williams said. “She just keeps working at her game.”
This trio likely will be Center Grove’s top three players early in the regular season.
Among those vying for the remaining spots in the Trojans’ lineup are seniors Kirby Swails and Sydney Castellanos. Junior Ashley Voyles, who at times played No. 5 for the Trojans last season, also is working to make the Trojans’ top five.
Also watch for juniors Julie Beshears and Gabby Burgett. Freshmen players capable of making an impact are Kat Moore, Julia Boston and Hope Davis.
“I think we can go back to state. We still have a lot of good players,” Voyles said. “Last season I just walked around the course and watched my teammates,” Voyles said of the state finals.
“It was pretty cool.”
After the Plainfield Invite, the Trojans host Greenwood in a dual match at Dye’s Walk on Tuesday. Center Grove is at Bloomington North two days later at Cascades Golf Course before taking part in the State Preview at Prairie View on Aug. 6.
In August alone the Trojans are scheduled to play in 13 events, concluding another trip to Prairie View for the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference Meet.
By then, expect Williams to have a far greater understanding of what this team is capable of accomplishing.
Center Grove’s postseason numbers in girls golf:
Sectionals won (4): 2002, 2011, 2014, 2015
Regionals won (1): 2011
Top finishes at the state finals: third (2000),fifth (2001), sixth (2002, 2015), seventh (2011), 10th (2014)
Individual medalist: Katie Tewell (2002)
Individual runner-up: Katie Tewell (2001)