Lancers girls golf has officially taken flight

Most of the state’s girls golf programs enjoyed a decades-long head start over Edinburgh Community High School, which didn’t add the sport until the 2014-15 school year.

Lancers coach Doug Weddle keeps this in mind when establishing goals for his teams.

Time will determine whether Edinburgh’s first two seasons off the tee are a sturdy foundation for a program that over time hopes to experience higher participation numbers.

Not an easy task at Edinburgh, a school of 285 students not projected to experience a drastic spike in enrollment in the foreseeable future.

“I’ve coached the (Edinburgh) boys golf team for 14 seasons, so it was nice to get the girls program going,” said Weddle, whose family owns Deer Valley Golf Course, which is one of the Lancers’ home courses along with Timbergate Golf Course.

“We’re actually trying to get a middle school program started through Timbergate but are still working on that. I’ve been extremely happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish our first two years.”

In the Lancers’ first season, they placed third at the 10-team Mid-Hoosier Conference Meet; last season, they fared even better, finishing second to Johnson County rival Indian Creek.

Edinburgh’s postseason path originates at the Bloomington North Sectional, home to 10-time state team champion Martinsville and seven other high schools larger — in some cases much, much larger — than Edinburgh.

In 2014, Weddle’s squad came in eighth of nine teams. His daughter Mariah’s 18-hole score of 98 at Cascades Golf Course fell two shots shy of advancing her to the Washington Regional as an individual.

Edinburgh again placed eighth at sectional in 2015 — albeit with a team score 47 strokes better than the previous season. Then-sophomore Vanessa McManaway carded a 93 for her team’s low score.

Led by McManaway, the current Lancers squad is made up of six players. All are underclassmen.

On paper, this bodes well for the future.

However, the harsh reality surrounding Lancers girls golf is there are only six players on coach Weddle’s present roster — one less than each of the program’s first two seasons.

“It’s always a concern,” said David Walden, a 1979 Edinburgh graduate starting his fourth year as his alma mater’s athletics director. “But at a small school like Edinburgh, we’re fighting numbers in everything.

“Doug has done an excellent job of laying the groundwork for the program.”

The Lancers soon will participate in three prominent tournaments in eight days, competing at the Connersville Invitational on Aug. 20, the annual Johnson County meet at Hickory Stick Golf Club on Aug. 25 and then the Mid-Hoosier Conference meet hosted by South Decatur on Aug. 27.

Three opportunities to prepare for the program’s next go-round at the Bloomington North Sectional in mid-September. And for a small-school program off to an impressive start to elevate even higher.