Although the Ankeny girls’ golf team boasts four returning varsity regulars, the Hawkettes’ lineup could look a lot different this season.
Gone is Jaci Webb, a three-time state qualifier who graduated last spring and is now playing for William Jewell College. She placed ninth in Class 4A last season, equaling the highest finish by an Ankeny golfer since 2013.
There are 15 girls on the Hawkettes’ roster, including four freshmen who could make an immediate impact.
“I am excited for them to join the team and to see what they can do,” said Ankeny coach Seth Hagarty. “They all have experience playing golf before so that is a great starting point.”
Ankeny posted a 4-1 record in the CIML Iowa Conference a year ago. Seniors Olivia Froehlich, Gabby Schnepf and Naomi SchraderBachar are back from that team along with junior Gia Blaser.
“I am expecting them to be the leaders of this program and to set the tone for what we can do both in meets and during practice,” Hagarty said. “They have all put in a lot of time this past summer, fall and winter, and will be a great group to lead this program.”
SchraderBachar placed second on the team last year with a 51.5 average. She shot a 104 to place 10th in the Ankeny Centennial Invitational at Briarwood, helping the Hawkettes to a runner-up finish.
SchraderBachar later took seventh in the Iowa Conference meet at Veenker Golf Course with a 100. She helped Ankeny to a third-place finish.
Schnepf posted an average score of 53.6 as a junior. She carded a 47 in a dual-meet win over Ames, then later placed 15th in the regional meet at Marshalltown with a 103.
Blaser played some of her best golf at the end of the season, placing 15th at the conference meet with a 110 and 11th at the regional meet with a 100. She posted a 55.7 average.
Froehlich shot a 101 in the Southeast Polk Invitational at Copper Creek to help the Hawkettes to a fifth-place finish. She posted a 56.2 average.
“Our practices started Monday and with Otter Creek not being open until (Wednesday), we decided to go to Backspin to hit on their simulators,” Hagarty said. “Backspin has been great to us and is very willing to work with us to provide a time slot for the girls to get in some quality hitting indoors. I am hoping the weather cooperates next week a bit better, and we will be out on the course and practice facilities at Otter Creek.”
Hagarty said his team’s main goal this season is to just improve every day.
“I have already started using the quote from Ted Lasso, ‘Be a goldfish!'” Hagarty said. “It is a simple reminder that we cannot change what has already happened, so there is no benefit from letting it linger in our minds. We need to move on to the next shot with the right mindset and do the best we can. As always, golf is supposed to be a fun and social sport, but certainly at times it can be frustrating, so we will be focusing a lot on how to manage the mental aspect of the sport.
“This is a great group of girls that I truly enjoy the opportunity to coach,” he added.
Ankeny will open the season on April 5 with an Iowa Conference dual meet at Mason City.