By Mike Zummo
The senior class is the first group to go through the Pine Bush girls’ golf program.
The team’s seniors – after their freshman year – petitioned the school district to create a program after having played their freshman season on the boys’ team.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic canceled their sophomore year and shortened and condensed junior year.
So, for the Pine Bush girls’ senior golfers, 2022 will be their first “normal” season.
“We are looking forward to a season of relative normalcy after dealing with cancellations and COVID protocols for the past two years,” Pine Bush coach Derrick Frost said.
Last year’s team posted an even 5-5 record and will return Sara Ippolito, Abigail Pearson, and Katherine Sassi in their senior seasons. Also returning is Stephanie Tranchina, a junior.
Juniors Nikkie Armetaj and Julianna Cooper will join the team for the first time.
“We have two new golfers that are eager to get back out on the course and improve their game,” Frost said.
With their complete team, Pine Bush is looking to build on last year’s results.
“I believe their continued hard work on the course will give them an opportunity to qualify for the end-of-the-season sectional tournament,” Frost said.
The Valley Central Vikings, meanwhile, are heading into their final season under 15-year coach Scott Warner, who will retire at the end of the school year.
Last year’s Vikings finished 5-4 in the short season and sent two athletes to the Section 9 tournament, Lia Grammar and Ella Jane Mahon.
Grammar finished 16th at Sectionals and Mahon was 18th.
The Vikings also lost Abigail Nokland, who played in most of their dual matches.
Senior Riley Schoonmaker, and juniors Alix O’Connor and Katherine Shust also will return to the course for the Vikings.
The Vikings hope to qualify at least one individual to the state tournament and get three to the Section 9 championships. They also hope to win the first mini-divisional tournament.
“The coaches in girls’ golf, along with the OCIAA league office have decided to bring all schools in a division to one site to play a tournament,” Warner said. “This is being done to help alleviate districts’ bussing issues and not tie courses up so much with matches during a season.”