Eastern Wake: Sports

Preview: Brooks leads small KHS golf contingent

The girls’ golf team at Knightdale is starting anew this fall.

“It’s a rebuilding stage for the golf program at Knightdale,” head coach David Hawkins said. “We’re kind of starting from ground zero.”

Hawkins’ squad is small. Only three girls are signed up, but he is expecting a fourth to join before the season begins.

He does, however, have two returning players to aid the growing pains the Lady Knights are sure to feel in 2014. Juniors Ivey Brooks and Erin Giunco are those players.

Brooks, a team captain, is the golfer Hawkins’ predicts to be the “team standout.”

Her average score is 48 for a nine-hole match, according to Hawkins.

“I’m really looking forward to her qualifying for regionals. It would be her first time,” Hawkins said of Brooks. “I’m very proud of her game, which has come down from the mid-60s to the mid-40s.”

Hawkins believes Giunco, also a captain, could follow Brooks to become Knightdale’s second player to qualify for regionals.

“Her game was somewhere in the high-50s and now it’s down to somewhere in the mid- to lower-50s,” Hawkins said of Giunco.

It would be a major accomplishment for such a small team to produce two girls that qualify for regionals, says Hawkins.

The third girl on Knightdale’s roster, freshman Morgan Cox, has never played a competitive sport before. It is up to team-leaders Brooks and Giunco to bring her up to speed as the season progresses.

“My returning players have really brought Morgan, our freshman, along in creating that excitement and that drive for wanting to play,” Hawkins said. “Erin and Ivey, team captains, have been very instrumental in her development.”

Despite her lack of experience, Hawkins already has big expectations for Cox somewhere down the line.

“I’m expecting great things out of her in the future and pretty excited that she’s hanging in there and trying to make it work for her and the team,” Hawkins said of Cox. “She’s really, really settling in with her game.”

The Knights were set to play their first match of the season on Tuesday in a Greater Neuse River Conference tilt hosted by Southeast Raleigh at Pine Hollow Golf Club in Clayton.

Last week, Hawkins reserved any expectations, but he did share his hopes for the season-opening match.

“What I’m hoping to see is a quick start to the year,” Hawkins said. “Just some really good, solid play out of my players to kind of make a statement for the year that just because we’re in a rebuild stage, we’re not a team to go to sleep on.”