Aug. 5—The South Laurel girls golf program has been built from the ground up since Steve King took over six years ago.
In his first year on the job, King had one player — his niece. According to King, she was on the team because he told her she had to be, but since then, they have seen more girls come out to join the Lady Cardinals.
This year, King will have six players take the course for South Laurel, with a squad that has a lot of youth, but quite a bit of talent as well.
"It's been a building process. We started out with one girl and that was my niece because I told her she had to play. Then we added another one, then three or four," said King. "Last year we had 11 and this year we are down to six players."
Leading the way for the Lady Cardinals this season is a player that King thinks can be one of the best when it is all said and done. Alyssa Siler is an eighth-grader, but she will be relied upon to compete among the region's best in 2022.
Siler has already made some noise, winning a match South Laurel had in which they competed against North Laurel, Corbin, and Somerset. Siler had the low score of the tournament.
"I think she can be one of the best girls we have had in this county," King said. "Right now, as an eighth-grader, she just won our match. She had the low score of 42."
Joining Siler is a host of players who will compete to be in the five-girl team for the Lady Cardinals. Blakely Callahan is another promising eighth-grader who could be the No. 2 golfer for South Laurel. Senior Emily Cox, a standout on the basketball court, is one of King's top returners, along with juniors Sophey Smith and Kaylee Smith.
King said he also has three new players coming out to practice with the team, but they are not officially on the team as of now.
"Blakely Callahan is another eighth-grader and she is going to be a really good one, too. Emily Cox has a basketball scholarship and is an outstanding athlete. She can get out there and get the ball around the course," said King. "Sophey Smith has been on the team now for four year and she is getting better every year. Kaylee Smith is new to the team and she is picking things up well."
King said that focus on this team will be improving as they gain more experience. He hopes to continue to build the program and find more girls who want to play the sport of golf.
"We have a team that is young but we have some talent, too," said King. "We don't have a lot of families that are members and play golf, so I'm working on building back up our numbers and finding kids that want to play."