Dragons Girls Golf Team has Big Shoes to Fill, but the Cupboard is not Bare

The Ste. Genevieve girls golf team lost quite a few golfers to graduation last season. But the foundation that has been built over the last few years is allowing the program to continue to make strides towards a successful 2020.


Losing three seniors from the 2019 squad leaves the Ste. Gen girls golf team with some question marks, but the returnees and young members of this year’s team provides plenty of reasons for optimism.  After being away for one season, head coach Rachel McDaniel returns after adding a beautiful young girl to her own team at home.  As SGHS heads into this season, they’ll continue to operate in a way that helps the golfers keep things in perspective.

“We have fun,” McDaniel admits.  “We don’t sweat bad shots because we are all learning the game.  Of course, teams have some drama, but we knock it off for the better of the whole, and cheer each other on.  This game is hard enough…there’s no need to make it harder.”


After mainstays Bella Burton, Josie Geisner, and Cami Grass said goodbye after graduation, Etta Heller will take center stage as the leader of the squad.  “Etta has been exciting since her freshman year,” McDaniel said of the junior.  “She has a good understanding of the game, and is eager to learn to become better.  Her swing is very natural, and she just flat belongs on the golf course.”

But that’s not to say she’s the only golfer to be counted on in a big way in 2020.  Looking to help the Dragons improve on their tenth place district finish will be senior Boston Williams.  “She’s starting to understand the value of putting work in during the off season,” Coach McDaniel pointed out.  “I believe that will pay dividends, both individually, and for the team.”

Two other letter-winners returning include senior Brooke Turner and junior Maggie Myracle.  “I’m hopeful Brooke and Maggie come in this year and make noise,” McDaniel noted.  “Maggie can get on streaks at the right time, and that is fun to watch.  Brooke also throws down low scores every now and then.  I’m hoping this year they consistently come in with those low scores and round out the top four.”

But make no mistake, McDaniel and the Dragons know there’s a long way to go.  Consistency is always the elusive quality so many golfers chase, day in and day out.  But Coach McDaniel thinks this team has the wherewithal to meet the challenges.  “Our strength is our resiliency,” she said.  “These girls fight through a lot during the season, most of who are still trying to learn the swing, and the ins and outs of the game.  Nevertheless, they stay positive and don’t stay down for long.  That mental toughness is so key in golf.”  And one way McDaniel believes her girls can improve is through their perspective.  “We’ve got to start seeing golf as an art form.  We need to hone in on our pre-shot routines, develop course acuity, know what shots and clubs to use in different situations, and practice deliberately.  If we can become golf snobs (for lack of a better term), I really believe we will see big improvements.”

Some of that may be developed with the younger golfers.  Coach McDaniel sees a few underclassmen that could find themselves helping the varsity this fall.  “Lani Yamnitz is coming in this year as a sophomore after playing volleyball for years,” McDaniel commented.  “I enjoyed watching her at camp, and I know she’s been putting in the work this summer so she can enter the team seamlessly come fall.  I also have a couple of sophomores that show some promise in Ava Meyer and Mia Schweigert.  Both girls did great at camp, and with continued work during practice and on their own, I really think we will have a battle for that fifth spot.”

As the Dragons get ready to begin competition, McDaniel hasn’t changed her approach to the season.  “I always want to do better than the year before.  I want to make growth, whether that is reflected in strokes, or in other measurable ways.  If we can just beat our scores from last year, both individually and team-wise, I am a very happy coach.”

The team will open the season on the road on Wednesday, September 2 at the Lutheran South Tournament.  For a look at the complete schedule, follow this link:  Ste. Gen Girls Golf Schedule

Dragons Girls Golf Team has Big Shoes to Fill, but the Cupboard is not Bare

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