Prep Golf: Salisbury girls golf prepares for championship pursuit
By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY — Even though they’re a team dedicated toward a goal, it’s hard to get the Salisbury girls’ golf squad together sometimes.
The girls rearranged doctor’s appointments and separate golf practices around their duties with the Hornets Wednesday afternoon in shaping up their short games at Country Club of Salisbury.
Despite other duties, they’re usually all at the same place this time of year.
“The mindset as far as Salisbury golf goes is when I give them the day off, all they do is play golf,” Salisbury coach Dale Snyder said. “That’s all they want to do.”
Sunday, they’ll all be on the way to Southern Pines for what looks like the Hornets’ best shot at a state title since it last won it all in 2006.
Since starting the program in 2001, the Hornets have been a 2A mainstay, winning back-to-back state titles in 2005-2006 and finishing as the runnerup the last two seasons.
The Hornets won the 1A-2A Central regional by 15 shots Monday at the Warrior Golf Club in China Grove, finishing with a 248 in their first 18-hole tournament.
Salisbury has finished second to 3A West Henderson in the state tournament the past two years, but seem destined to walk away with another trophy next week. Even the team motto is state-championship worthy.
“Our team motto is the swing with the sting,” senior Lily Yatawara said. “I feel like its our time to win it.”
Snyder says this team reminds him of the 2005 team, which also had a standout freshman in Allison Lee. Isabella Rusher looks cut in the shape of Lee as the freshman has been instrumental in her first year coming over from Salisbury Academy. Rusher will be the one with a ladybug hat clip among those at Longleaf Golf and Country Club next Monday and Tuesday.
“When I was little, I used to love ladybugs and it matches our school colors,” Rusher said. “I’ve worn it every match this year.”
Rusher shot a 76 Monday and had a 40 on the front nine and an even 36 on the back. Snyder said he calmed her down after bogeying three straight holes to end the front nine
“I knew about her for years,” Snyder said. “She has the ability to turn the switch and have a good nine or 18 holes.”
Madeline Hoskins, who’s juggling a playoff run in both golf and tennis, hurt her IT band (“the side of my hip and back part of my butt”) last week, but shot an 85 Monday and won her singles and doubles match in a playoff bout with Brevard on Tuesday.
“Monday at tennis practice after golf I was going for a backhand and I think I tore it,” Hoskins said. “I’ve got a week and a half to tough it out so I think I’ll be alright.”
Yatawara shot an 87 Monday. “I just didn’t hit the ball as solid as I normally do,” Yatawara said.
Junior Brooke Smith is a state qualifier after a 93 in the regional.
“I’m really excited,” Smith said. “I think that we have the team that can win it all.”
The team will leave for Southern Pines Sunday morning and play a practice round that day. The first round is Monday with the top three scores for each team being recorded. Snyder sees Northwood as the biggest challenger from the east. Northwood will bring a rare five players.
The classifying of the championships will be a bit different this year as the 4A and 3A schools will have a separate champion while the 2A and 1A schools play in a combined tournament. In past years, the 1A-2A-3A classifications have crowned one champion while the 4A schools had a singular title winner.
“The thing that people don’t remember is ‘well you haven’t won it since ‘06,’ ” Snyder said. “Yeah, but we’ve still been the top 2A team in the state every year since then. So really, we’re not going for our third, we’re going for our seventh in a row. We’ve been beaten by 3A schools.”
Snyder took the year off last year when his kid entered kindergarten while Kelsey Babos took over the team. He’s back and anxious for another trip to Longleaf after guiding the boys team to the championship there in the spring.
“For this to be our 11th year and sixth, hopefully seven, years on top of 2A, I’m really proud of that,” Snyder said.