Columbus North may have lost girls golf state medalist Holly Anderson to graduation, but the Bull Dogs might have enough talent coming back to make another run at a top-five state finish.

The Bull Dogs finished third as a team in last year’s state finals. They return three of their top four and five of their top seven and have added a promising freshman to this year’s mix.

“We’re very optimistic,” North coach Scott Seavers said. “I like my team a lot. We definitely should be a good team, and we’ll look get better throughout the year and compete for a state championship.”

Senior Danbi Kim returns to lead the Bull Dogs. Kim finished fifth individually in last year’s state tournament.

Kim has had a big offseason. Last month, she captured the Girls State Junior Championship.

“I think she has a decent chance of winning the state,” Seavers said. “She’s definitely one of the top golfers in the state. She’s going to have to be playing really well at the end of the season, and she’s going to have to beat some really good girls, but she’s capable.”

Junior Alex Munnicha, who tied with Anderson for sectional medalist honors, and senior Julia Luken and have been playing varsity since their freshman years. Senior Molly Donnell and sophomore Annie Anderson saw some varsity action last year as North’s Nos. 6 and 7 golfers.

Munnicha’s sister, freshman Nathaly Munnicha, has had a decorated junior golf career and figures to claim a varsity spot.

“We have some nice freshmen coming in, and we have a lot of competition for the five spots,” Seavers said. “I think our top five will change quite a bit. That’s six solid people.”

Beyond that, freshman Yestika Nischol and sophomore Nicole Duncan are hoping to contend for varsity action.

Columbus East

The Olympians return three of their top four golfers from a team that qualified for regional last season. They’ll join North in today’s season-opening Bloomington South Invitational at Bloomington Country Club.

Seniors Lily Shelp and Autumn Fateley were East’s top two players. Senior Morgan Harrison also was a varsity regular.

Beyond that, East has little varsity experience. Sophomore Lauren Steinwedel and juniors Ellie Buntin and Kati Brunn are battling for the final two varsity spots.

“We should be strong at 1 and 2,” East coach Troy Buntin said. “Morgan Harrison, my 3, has improved. They’re going to shoot in the 80s or 90s I told them it’s going to be 4 and 5 by committee until someone takes it over. It’s just a matter of them getting experience and getting the mental side down.”

Also looking to contend for varsity spots are junior Abby Meier and sophomore newcomer Savannah Downey.

The Olympians will try to again qualify for regional with a top-three finish in the Greensburg Sectional.

“I think every year, the goal is to advance as far as you can,” Troy Buntin said. “North is always a given, and then it’s kind of a crapshoot from there. It depends what Batesville has and what Greensburg has.”

Jennings County

After finishing fourth in the Madison Sectional the past two years, the Panthers are hoping to climb into the top three to land a regional bid.

Coach Kellie Barriger has six golfers out for the team. led by junior Peyton Whitehead, a two-time individual regional qualifier. Senior Allie Clark and junior Sydney Campbell also were full-time varsity players.

Senior Rachel Greene fluctuated between the Nos. 5 and 6 spots last season. Juniors Annie Ertel and Destiny Joray will move up from the junior varsity.

“The girls have practiced this summer,” Barriger said. “I think they will hold their own. I think they will be able to achieve some goals they’ve had the last couple of years. Obviously as a team, would like to advance to regional because we’ve been so close the last two years.”

Brown County

With 10 golfers, Brown County coach Brad Baughman has his biggest team in the six-year history of the program.

Junior Ashley Masteller is a two-time All-Western Indiana Conference player and was a regional qualifier last year. The Eagles also have four seniors who have played all four years in Lauren Burker, Meghan Cassiday, Kacee Kleindorfer and Jessica Taylor.

“I’m happy to have four girls with experience who have gotten progressively better each year, and then have a front-runner who qualified for regional last year,” Baughman said. “That’s a good starting point, a good base.”

Sophomore Meg Smith played a couple varsity matches last season. Sophomore newcomers Aubrey Hollander, Allison Stogsdill and Taylor Poling bring athletic ability from other sports and are joined by freshman Courtney Hill.

Edinburgh

The Lancers will be gunning for a Mid-Hoosier Conference title while returning all five varsity players from last year’s MHC runner-up.

“That’s our goal — to look to win the Mid-Hoosier Conference and then see if we can move up in that sectional a little bit,” Edinburgh coach Doug Weddle said. “This is only our fourth year (for the program), and I feel like every year, we’ve made improvements, and we’re looking to make even more this year.”

Seniors Vanessa McManaway and Makenzie Hill were All-Conference last season. Seniors Savannah Kellams and Kierra Richards also return.

Junior Maddie Giles was in the Lancers’ top five last year, but is battling with senior newcomer Maddi Clark and sophomore newcomer Destiny Myers for the final varsity spot this year. Clark has been a standout pitcher in softball and is out for golf for the first time.

South Decatur

The Cougars may have a team this fall, but they do not have a coach at the moment.

Boys basketball coach Bryan Dixon was set to take over the program, but he took a teaching job in Greensburg on Wednesday.

Two of South Decatur’s top three golfers return. Senior Shelby Vannatta has been one of the Cougars’ top two players the past three years and was their low scorer in last year’s sectional. Junior Annie Gant has been the team’s No. 3 golfer the past two years.

Trinity Lutheran

The Cougars likely will have only two players unless more show up when practice begins today.

Senior Morgan Gabbard and Cameo Hildreth are the returning varsity golfers.

“Morgan could be a pretty good player,” Trinity coach Nate Benter said. “Cameo showed a lot of improvement throughout the year last year. There’s still a lot of room for improvement for both of them.”

Benter’s sister, sophomore Anna Benter, played last year, but had surgery on her legs and will not be able to play this season.

If you go

Girls golf schedules for Columbus East and Columbus North:

Columbus East

Today;at Bloomington South Invitational;9 a.m.

Thursday;Whiteland, Greenfield-Central;5 p.m.

Saturday;at Greensburg Invitational;9 a.m.

Aug. 7;Batesville;4:30 p.m.

Aug. 8;Jennings County;4:30 p.m.

Aug. 12;at Lapel Invitational;1 p.m.

Aug. 14;at Seymour;4:15 p.m.

Aug. 16;at Greenwood;4:30 p.m.

Aug. 19;at Connersville Invitational;noon

Aug. 21;at Martinsville;4:30 p.m.

Aug. 26;HHC at Jennings County;2 p.m.

Aug. 28;Seymour;4:15 p.m.

Aug. 29;at Bloomington North;4:30 p.m.

Aug. 31;Shelbyville;4:45 p.m.

Sept. 5;Greensburg;4:30 p.m.

Sept. 9;at Franklin Central Invitational;1:30 p.m.

Sept. 12;at Columbus North;4:15 p.m.

Sept. 14;at Greensburg;4:30 p.m.

Columbus North

Today;at Bloomington South Invitational;9 a.m.

Saturday;at Fall Preview at Prairie View (Carmel);1 p.m.

Aug. 7;Perry Meridian;4:30 p.m.

Aug. 12;at Fuzzy Zoeller Inviational at Champions Pointe;2:30 p.m.

Aug. 14;Greenwood;4:30 p.m.

Aug. 15;at Batesville;4 p.m.

Aug. 16;at Roncalli;4:30 p.m.

Aug. 19;at Roncalli Invitational;1 p.m.

Aug. 21;Bloomington North;4:30 p.m.

Aug. 22;at Seymour;4:45 p.m.

Aug. 24;at Shelbyville;4:30 p.m.

Aug. 26;Hall of Fame at Ackerman-Allen (West Lafayette);1 p.m.

Aug. 31;Southport;4:30 p.m.

Sept. 5;at Franklin (with Center Grove);4:15 p.m.

Sept. 6;at Martinsville;4:30 p.m.

Sept. 9;at Franklin Central Invitational;1:30 p.m.

Sept. 11;Conference Indiana at Timbergate;9 a.m.

Sept. 12;Columbus East;4:15 p.m.

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.