Tigers ready to make noise at girls state golf tournament
Marietta girls golf coach Randee Seevers had big expectations for her squad coming into the 2020 season.
The Tigers exceeded those expectations, and then some.
Marietta claimed the Division I East/Southeast District championship last week at EagleSticks Golf Course in Zanesville, earning what Seevers believed to be the girls golf program’s first ever state berth.
“We kind of knew coming into this year what we had,” said Seevers, in her third year as Marietta’s head coach. “We had a real good freshman coming in, five seniors returning, a couple newbies, and a sophomore who knew what she was doing. The goal all year long was to win sectionals and do our best to get out of districts. To go in and sweep districts like we did, it was pretty awesome. In the back of our minds, we always knew we had the potential to do it. The girls were super hyped about it. To be what we think is the first girls team in Marietta history to do it is the cherry on top.”
Representing the Tigers at the state meet Oct. 23-24 in Columbus will be seniors Makayla Welch, Paige Hartley and Addi Herb, sophomore Trista Stanley and freshman Saylor Wharff. Wharff carded a 77 at the district meet to earn Medalist honors. Stanley scored an 87, followed by Hartley’s 96, Welch’s 100 and Herb’s 105.
The senior trio has provided Marietta with leadership and experience.
“They just bring a whole ‘nother level of leadership,” Seevers said.
“This year it finally clicked. They felt a little more drive and desire to live up to those standards. I’ve been trying to hold them to that. That class as a whole has pushed everybody.”
The seniors have also been motivated by the two underclassmen, who have led the team in scoring most of the year.
“They’ve been my most consistent two,” Seevers said of Wharff and Stanley. “They definitely helped that senior class get a little more aggressive and competitive. They always compete with each other for the top five or six spots. Having those two leading the way has been huge.”
Seevers has been especially impressed with what Wharff has been able to come in and do as a ninth-grader.
“Golf is such a mental game and she has come a huge way at getting over that mental block,” Seevers said. “In the beginning of the year, she was a little nervous to be playing in the top spot, knowing there was going to be tough golfers in those spots. She and I found a way pre-round to get her head in the right place. She always wants a pep talk before she starts, and once I get her off the first tee, she’s pretty much tunnel vision and in her own game. To shoot 77 at districts is incredible.
“Her work ethic and desire to constantly want to get better, and better her teammates is half the battle for a kid her age. She’s at the course, even when I’m not there, working and getting better. The sky is the limit for her.”
Seevers thinks her team can make some noise at state, too. She believes the Tigers can handle the tough courses at Ohio State.
“Our sectional and district courses are hilly,” she said. “The Ohio State course is in no way easy, but it’s a little flatter which is what we’re used to playing. If we can produce numbers like we did at districts on a hilly course, hopefully we can put up better numbers on a flatter course. There’s some pretty incredible teams that are going to be there. Overall, it’s going to be an awesome experience to see the kind of golf they’re going to see.”
Marietta will have a practice round Thursday, Oct. 22, to get familiar with the course.
“They’re not used to playing 18 holes three days in a row, so the practice round isn’t going to be anything super grueling,” Seevers said. “We’ll have them get a good look off the tee and a lot of green work. Putting has been such an issue for us, so to see the green layout and read some putts is going to be a huge help for us.”
While putting has been up and down, driving has been Marietta’s strength.
“Pretty much everybody hits good distance off the tee,” Seevers said. “We haven’t had to do a ton of long iron work because once we’re off the tee, we’re usually 120 or 130 yards in.”
How Marietta mentally prepares and handles the pressure state tournaments can bring will determine how well they perform.
“The biggest thing for us is to stay relaxed and enjoy it,” Seevers said. “We play so much better when we’re relaxed and confident. We have every reason to go up there and play confident because we earned it. I just want them to enjoy it because it’s something not a lot of people can say they’ve done.”
Jordan Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.