While all the teams have lost players from a year ago, they have also gained a few new ones and are optimistic on what the upcoming prep golf season has in store. Here's a brief look at the trio of Rail City teams.
The defending High Desert League champions are ready to pursue another conference title this season.
The Cougars went undefeated in HDL tournaments last year and have high hopes of making a run at a state title.
“We’re extremely excited because this is the first year that we’ve had the potential to go as far as we possible can,” Spanish Springs senior Brittany Best said. “Everybody has the mindset to put in the time it takes to go as far as we can.”
Spanish Springs finished third in the Northern 4A Championships last season and just missed qualifying for the state tournament.
The Cougars hope to earn first or second place at regionals this fall and in turn capture a berth to the state championships in Las Vegas.
“We’ve been working on our putting more and just working on our short game and drives,” sophomore Rochelle Mikkelson said. “We get along well with each other and we practice hard.”
Spanish Springs brings back Tess Jones who tied for 19th in the individual standings at the 4A championships last season. Rachel Martin and Devan Gaddis also return for Spanish Springs.
Eight members of the 10 Cougars were able to play over the summer, which Best said will be a huge boost for the team’s experience level in the upcoming season.
“It’s huge to have people playing in the summer,” Best said.
Spanish Springs kicks off its High Desert League season Sept. 2 at Ruby View Golf Course in Elko.
Reed lost senior Tess Oliphant, but gained many new members who will get varsity experience this year.
“It’s the biggest team we’ve had in a long time,” Reed coach Danielle Fleiner said on the 13 team members. “A lot of them are young. I can’t wait to see what they’re going to be, especially in two years.”
Reed boasts four returning players and a lot of new faces.
“They’re playing wonderfully already,” Fleiner said.
Reed’s returning players are Jocelyn Motter, Lindsey Porter, Nicole Echeto and Carlee Payne.
Reed has another weapon this year, extra practice. Fleiner held what she called an “open range” this summer to allow kids the chance to get in some extra time on the course.
“Kids were coming out on their own, brushing off the cobwebs and swinging a little bit earlier,” Fleiner said. “The kids have been swinging consistently since June or July.”
“The team is going to be just solid,” Fleiner said. “It’s just going to be an exciting year … Reed’s going to be in contention. There’s lots of talent to be looking for.”
Fleiner said that the team has set a goal to finish in third place in the High Desert League this season. The Raiders came in fourth last year.
“They’re very athletic kids,” she said. “They’re working so hard, outside of practice as well. They are putting in a lot of time and energy and asking the right questions. They’ve got the heart and the drive for it.”
Reed’s first tournament appearance will be Sept. 2 in Elko as well.
Sparks’ coach Mike Bryant is optimistic and ready to get the Railroaders season underway after already noticing increased improvement in his small squad.
The Railroaders were unable to do summer work with the majority of the team being out of town, but Bryant said he can tell that his players have improved.
“We’ve gotten together that past few days, and the team is showing great promise,” he said. “I’m very pleased with what I saw after an entire summer’s layoff.”
Sparks graduated Samantha Posey last year. She tied for 14th place as an individual at the 3A state championships while Sparks finished next to last in league and did not make the 3A North championships.
Bryant thinks junior Kelly Lax will be the SHS team's top player. She could be pushed this season by Rebecca Baker.
“She (Lax) has been hitting the ball very smoothly this year and her putting has shown marked improvement,” Bryant said.
Sparks returns three juniors from last year’s team and hopes to add a few younger players to fill out the roster.
Sparks travels to Lowry next week for its first showing of the year.
“We’re going to have a good time this year,” Bryant said. “We’re going to play some serious golf.”