By Caroline Schneider
In 2008, three freshmen, two seniors and their new coach walked onto a golf course as Northwood’s first female golf team. Those freshmen are now seniors and have acquired multiple wins and personal accomplishments over the past four years, including placing second at States earlier this month.
When Emily Brooks and Maggie Denny were middle school students anticipating the high school life ahead of them, one thing that stuck out to them was that there was no Northwood girls’ golf team.
“So their fathers all came to me [and] asked me if I would be available to coach,” said Karen Crisp, the girl’s coach.
With her experience as a golf instructor at Chapel Ridge, and her work with the Junior Club at the Preserve, Crisp accepted the position, making the team whole.
Since that first year, the girls’ team has been annually successful. In 2008 they placed eighth at states and the following year they placed fifth. In 2010 the girls took fourth, and this year they finished in second place behind Salisbury High School.
But the team hasn’t only grown in how they place each year, they’ve also acquired more students, growing from a team of five in 2008 to a team of eight this year.
“We have a lot of underclassmen on the team now and if we keep doing well it should [grow more in the years to come,” said Denny.
One key player to the team’s success is Brooks, who has committed to golf by giving up soccer and signing last week to play at Elon for the next four years.
According to TYGA rankings, Brooks is ranked second in the state and is the top ranked senior based on every tournament she’s competed in. She has been conference Player of the Year three times in a row and has been All-Conference every year she has played on the high school team. This year she was the regional champion and the individual runner-up at the state tournament.
“I was disappointed at how I finished at the state championship this year but the main point is that I’ve improved my scores all four years, which was one of my goals, and I’ve worked hard,” Brooks said.
Golf is usually thought of as an individual sport, where players single handedly compete against other players. For the high school and college levels though, players compete as teams, where the top three scores are combined to create the team’s score.
Players are still recognized for how well they do individually, however, and not every player focuses as much on the team as they do themselves.
“That’s the biggest challenge,” said Crisp. “Having the girls see it as a team sport rather than an individual sport.”
Junior Borden Thomas has been on the team for two years and she enjoys both the individual and the group aspects of high school golf.
“I like it because you want to get better for yourself and if you mess up you don’t let the whole team down,” said Thomas. “It’s like a self goal but then you have the whole team behind you.”
The team’s captains, Brooks and Denny, are ranked first and second on the team and have watched it grow over the last four years.
“I think the biggest thing that they’ve done is set examples for the other players,” said Crisp. “I mean everybody wants to hit like them, they want to play like them, and that’s huge.”
“They’re really great captains because they keep the team going and I’ll be sad to see them go.”