Numbers Improve for Vikings Girls' Golf
The Union Pines girls’ golf team placed second in the first Cape Fear Valley Conference (CFVC) match of the season Monday at Quail Ridge Golf Course in Sanford.
Western Harnett tallied a team total 318 to edge the Vikes (320) by two points. Southern placed third with a score of 327. Sophomore Lindsay Dakin led Union Pines on the day, earning medalist honors for the match with a score 97.
After Union Pines did not compete in the first CFVC match last year and failed to post a team score until the third league match, Viking coach Raymond Groseclose was able to find plenty of reasons to be optimistic with his team’s performance.
“We are competitive with the other teams this year, which is a positive,” said Groseclose. “Last year I felt we were competitive toward the end of the year with everyone except Southern Lee, who had an exceptional team last year.
“I guess one of the biggest positives for us is our numbers and the type of girls we have on this team. We have a great group of girls that seem to enjoy being here and seem excited to improve as individuals and as a team.
“Overall, we are very young and we can only get better if these girls see the possibilities and work toward a common goal.”
However, Groseclose was quick to point out he felt his team was “a little behind” where he hoped they would be at this point of the season.
“We have had end of the summer vacations,” he said. “Channah Valkos injured her ankle last week with a misstep and could not play yesterday. Channah is returning from last year and is one of our top-three or -four golfers. We have one freshman that is just starting practice this week and another freshman whose mother called me yesterday about coming out — so it is taking a while to get to full strength.”
While Union Pines narrowly lost its conference opener Monday, Groseclose feels the squad did not play close to the level of its potential.
“I hate to lose, especially by a narrow margin,” Groseclose said, “but we cannot make excuses or blame any one individual. I think each girl that played can see where she could have shaved three strokes from their score yesterday.
“Western Harnett and Southern Lee also have quality girls and are both well-coached. I look for all of us to improve over the course of the season, which should make for some good matches. Right now Lindsay is certainly our leader and she is wonderfully talented, which makes it very exciting to think about the things she could accomplish before she is finished.”
Union Pines started last season with no coach and just two players. According to Groseclose, that is unacceptable. He believes the fact that the 2007-2008 back-to-back 1-A/3-A state champion Viking girls’ golf team is now back on the map is a major positive.
“Union Pines should always have golf teams,” he said. “We live in an area rich in golf tradition, so I am just fortunate to have been in the right position to pull the pieces back together.
“The problem today with some sports, like girls’ golf, is being able to find enough people to fill coaching positions. Most young coaches are looking for a job coaching football, basketball or one of the other sports that attract more attention.
“For me, I have been through that already. I love golf and I like teaching. If you have a little enthusiasm about what you do, kids will want to be part of your program.”
Currently, the CFVC only has three schools competing in girls’ golf, and Groseclose feels like other schools are having the same type of problem. “There aren’t enough coaches,” he said. “My high school football coach at Randleman, Charles Gregory, was always in the hall with the kids, talking to them about playing football.
“That’s why he could dress 80 kids for a game. I just try to take a little guidance from ‘Coach Gregory’ and do the same thing — that is how we went from two players at the beginning of last year to 10 this year.”
The Vikings return to the course Tuesday in a CFVC match at Carolina Lakes Golf Club in Sanford.
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