So far, the nerves that Garner girls golf coach Connie Barnes expected to dominate her early-season thoughts haven’t been around.
After losing the program-changing Ceyrolles triplets to graduation, Garner has picked up right where it left off, winning the first two Greater Neuse River 4A Conference matches of the season. And on first glance, it appears the conference championship trend (four straight) is likely to continue if the Trojans keep up this early-season pace.
Garner finished at 126 in the nine-hole tournament at Wil-Mar Golf Club last Tuesday, nine strokes ahead of Clayton.
“I was a little nervous after losing the triplets this year, but the girls have stepped up and filled their shoes,” Barnes said. “We are young, but also have two seniors (Emily O’Neill and Alexis Eaddy) that provide leadership and maturity to the team.”
But it was a freshman, Kayla Ward, who led the Trojans with a round of 37 for medalist honors at Wil-Mar. It was her second straight medalist round in league play.
“Kayla Ward I knew coming in was going to help us, but not sure I realized the impact she was going to have in the conference,” Barnes said. “Medalist the first two tournaments is big for a freshman, especially with calming the nerves and with confidence going through the rest of the season.”
Tylor Whitley added a 43 for Garner, while O’Neill shot 51.
Barnes said Whitley, a sophomore, is reaping the benefits of a summer spent working hard on her game.
Clayton was led by Haley Talton with a 41. Talton transferred to the Comets program after playing at Smithfield-Selma. She was the Two Rivers 3A Conference champion last fall. It was her first conference match of the season after a wrist injury in a preseason practice round that forced her to miss the opener.
Katherine Dull finished at 45 for Clayton and Madyson Scott shot 51.
West Johnston was third at 143 with Preslee Honeycutt pacing the Wildcats with a 41. Alyssa Barbour finished at 50 and the Wildcats’ last of three counting team scores came from Grace Olmstead with a 52.
Knightdale took fourth out of the seven teams competing with a 172. Ivey Brooks led the Knights at 56, while Erin Giunco and Morgan Cox both shot 58.
Southeast Raleigh notched a 179 total, led by Taylor Dunn’s 59. Alisin Schepers and Tenay Harrell both carded 60.
Rolesville (181) and East Wake (184) were sixth and seventh, respectively. Allison Nowell shot 57 for Rolesville, while Skylar Pritchett and Hannah Finch each finished with 61 for the Warriors.