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Cowgirls look to rebuild

Crook County will have only one returner with significant varsity experience

by: LON AUSTIN?CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Chelsea Shank is expected to lead the Cowgirl golf team next season. The sophomore shot her best rounds of the year at district and state.

“I thought it went great,” said Crook County High School head coach Grant Patterson following the conclusion of this year’s golf season.
   “I’m not sure that I could ask much more out of the girls. Especially at state they stepped up and did their best.”
   Crook County took advantage of a Molalla miscue to take the lead during the first day of the state championships. Molalla’s lone senior made an error recording one hole on her scorecard, causing her to be disqualified from the round. The mistake cost Molalla 25 strokes. However, they regrouped on day two, pulling ahead on the back nine to repeat as state champions.
   Still, the Cowgirls had nothing to be ashamed of. Crook County ran away with second-place in the tournament while playing two of their best rounds of the season.
   “I think the only thing bitter about it was they had a taste of winning it,” Patterson said. “Still I thought it was a good accomplishment. The girls felt good about it. They know how good a team Molalla is.”
   The Cowgirls were led all season by senior Kirsti Kelso, who finished fifth individually at the state championships. Along with Kelso the team will also lose Kaci Jaci McKenzie, Kaylee Solomon, and Sierra Morgan to graduation.
   Sophomore Chelsea Shank is expected to lead next year’s team. Shank improved all season, shooting her best rounds of the year at district and state. Kaitlyn Dalton, who is the only other Cowgirl with varsity experience, is also expected to be a major contributor next season.
   Patterson is looking for other players to step up off of the JV?team and fill the remaining varsity positions.
   “Next year will definitely be a rebuilding year,” Patterson said. “We have some JV girls that can hit the ball. It’s just a matter of how well they can play 18 holes. My biggest hope is that they will want to get better and enjoy competition. We’ve been spoiled the last several years.”
   Patterson added that in order for the team to be competitive again next season players will need to be on the golf course regularly during the summer months.
   “I think Shank and Dalton are going to play COGA (Central Oregon Golf Association) tournaments again this year,” he said. “Now I’m just working on getting some of the other girls playing in the summer.”