Bobcats bring back bulk of girls’ golf roster for spring season

Emily Hass and Kassy Vest

It won’t be a matter of rebuilding. It’s more of reloading with the talent the Bobcats have returning.

The Marshalltown girls’ golf team gets the 2017 season started today, hosting Johnston for a dual at the American Legion Memorial Golf Course.

The 2016 campaign was a year of a young Bobcat squad learning the game of golf. Last year’s squad didn’t have a single senior on it. Now, with a host of key contributors back for the Bobcats, 2017 is about building on a season ago.

“I think the year of 2017 is still going to be a year of growth,” said Bobcat golf coach Lucas Johnson, “but I think it’s a year now where that girl comes with a little bit more experience for our team.

“Looking at the girls who are going to comprise our varsity, they’re girls who now suddenly have been to pretty much every course we’ll see. They know what it’s like to be in that varsity competition. One thing I’m looking at that I think is a big positive for us is that we return virtually all of our counting scoring from last year.”

Leading that scoring last year was Kassy Vest. The junior paced MHS with a scoring average of 51.16, and led the Bobcats with 24 pars made. Vest’s 51.16 low score average during her sophomore year ranks ninth among all Bobcats dating back to the 2012-2013 school year. Three-time state qualifier Ashley Harris holds the top three spots off that list.

Also on the list of the top-15 lowest averages in the last five years is Emily Hass. Hass’ 52 average is 11th on the list and was second on last year’s team. The junior missed qualifying for state as an individual last year by six strokes. Hass and Vest, who have played varsity golf since their freshman years, have been the Bobcat captains since the start of last season.

“They’re the ones I look to set the tones,” Johnson said. “Kassy had some great rounds last year. Emily played a great round in the state qualifying meet. For a while it looked like she could potentially qualify. Had a great front nine, but then had a couple rough holes on the back.”

While there is room still to grow, with the experience the girls bring to the links, for someone to make a trip to the state tournament this year isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

“We have girls with potential if they put it together on the right day, those are realistic goals,” Johnson said. “We have to play a lot. We have to keep improving. We’re not there, yet. The other thing I look at is I think we’ve had a little bit more competition for our top six spots.”

Also returning for the Bobcats is Lauren Propp, who was third with an average of 54.77. Senior Emily Vest, a four-year golfer, brings experience to the Bobcats. As Johnson pointed out, Emily played in 11 meets last year and scored in 10 of them. Junior Ciara Feldman will play her first season of golf for the Bobcats this year. Johnson said Feldman is a great athlete who will contribute as she has already cracked the varsity lineup.

Today’s dual with Johnston tees off at 3:30 p.m.

“If I’m looking at it from a team wise perspective, we were right around that 200 barrier for most of the season last year,” Johnson said. “I think that’s going to be the next step these girls take is putting together rounds that are in the 40s. If we can three or four rounds in the 40s versus three or four rounds in the low 50s, that’ll help us to compete at that next level and take that next step forward.”