By JOSH SIGLER KOKOMO TRIBUNE
---- — Northwestern’s girls golf program had its best years in the mid-1990s, winning three straight sectional championships in 1995, ‘96 and ‘97, finishing fourth in the state finals in ‘95 before earning state runner-up honors in ‘96.
The current crop of Purple Tiger golfers are poised to etch their own mark in history Friday, when the squad hits Chippendale G.C. seeking the program’s second sectional three-peat. And with a 17-1 regular season dual-meet record and second straight Mid-Indiana Conference crown in tow, Northwestern appears poised to stand atop the podium once more.
“Winning three in a row is pretty tough to do,” Northwestern coach Randy Lindgren said. He was the coach of the teams in the mid-90s. “It just shows the dedication of our athletes at Northwestern. They take their sports seriously and work hard in the offseason. It’s a tradition thing: You just don’t want to let your forefathers down, and that’s been instilled in the kids. That’s what we’re successful.”
Action Friday at Chippendale will kick off at 10 a.m. with golfers from Cass, Eastern, Kokomo, Logansport, Maconaquah, North Miami, Peru, Taylor, Tipton and Western also taking to the course. Western is the host school
The Purple Tigers shot a 341 to win last weekend’s MIC meet at Logansport Country Club, topping second-place Peru by 13 strokes. Ashton Marton took medalist honors in the meet for Northwestern with a 79. She, Olivia McClure and Karlie Shaw all return from last season’s sectional title squad.
Peru is looking to improve upon its third-place finish in the last two sectionals, with four of its top five from last season returning for this postseason.
“I think Peru is the main competition,” Lindgren said. “They have a very solid team this year and are going to be formidabale opponents. Our regular season prepares us well and I feel like we will score well. If one of our girls is having a bad day, someone on the team is going to pick them up. When your depth is that good, it makes for a successful [tournament].”
Aside from the field, the weather also has Lindgren concerned. The forecast is calling for a 40 percent chance of rain, something that will obviously make the playing conditions much tougher.
“If the wind picks up, it makes those out of bounds stakes on the back nine come up on you quickly,” Lindgren said. “If we can’t play Friday that’ll move [the sectional] to Monday, and you don’t like that from an educational standpoint because it makes the kids miss another day of classes. We’d like to play Friday with no wind and see where that puts us.
“Going through a housing addition like Chippendale does, it makes it tighter than most courses,” Lindgren added. “So, wind plays a major factor when you play a course like that. Score-wise I think we’ll do fine, but our concern is the weather.”
Eastern and Taylor tee off at noon today. Daysi Jarvis shot a 91 in the MIC meet to lead the Titans, while Maddie Williams carded a 95 to lead the Comets.
Western, Kokomo and Northwestern will tee off at 12:40 p.m. The Panthers’ Natalie Newlin finished second individually in last weekend’s MIC meet with an 81, while teammate Minka Gill carded an 84. The Wildkats’ AnneMarie Balsbaugh shot an 84 in last weekend’s North Central Conference meet to tie for third place individually.
The top three teams, plus top three individuals on non-advancing teams advance to the regional round at Battle Ground G.C. next Saturday.