Aug. 5—The North Laurel girls golf team is in rebuilding mode for the first time in years, but Coach Joel Prichard is ready for that challenge and can already see the future talent of the program.
Last year, the Lady Jaguars lost their top three seeded players. That was a big loss for a program that has routinely competed with the best in the region for the past five years or so.
In 2022, North Laurel returns the girls who were seeded three through six last season, and expectations are high for those three players. Senior Aubry Monaco, junior Mia Anderson, and freshman Lily Kate Chesnut bring back experience and talent from last year's squad and Prichard said he is turning to them to lead the team.
"Those girls were roughly four, five, and six last season. We are looking for them to lead the way for us this year," said Prichard. "It is a rebuilding year for us. We have had several good teams in a row, but we start the rebuilding process this year. We've been real competitive for several years now, but all teams go through this."
The biggest obstacle for any golf program is numbers, and that is what Prichard is dealing with. He has eight players on his roster — one senior, four juniors, two freshmen, and one seventh-grader.
Monaco is the lone senior on the squad, while Anderson, Carly Storm, Anna Storm, and Charlotte Griffin round out the junior class. Chesnut and Kinlee Krueger are freshmen, and Maddie Belle Brewer is in seventh-grade.
"Dealing with numbers in girls golf is tough and numbers are not great right now. We started with seven players and we added one late so we have eight on the roster," said Prichard. "We have three girls returning, and five girls who have never played golf before."
Prichard said that every girl on the roster would get plenty of experience this season. Every girl will compete in matches, but the top four scores will determine how well the Lady Jaguars do in matches. With three experienced players returning, Prichard is looking to find those fourth and fifth players to round out his five-girl team for tournaments.
He said he likes how his girls are competing already. They recently played a match in the Bell County Invitational at Wasioto. The constant rain made for disastrous conditions, but the North Laurel squad competed.
"The conditions at Bell County were not ideal. We could have played better, but those were really tough conditions. It rained the entire match. It's hard to play like that," said Prichard. "We played Somerset, Corbin, and South Laurel and we were down to four players because of vacations. We're just thin right now. We'll get everyone back starting next week and have everyone continue working."