A bigger roster, a boost for Pine-Richland women’s golf
Sunday 22 August 2021 | 10:01 am
There were 14 girls who came to the trials for the Pine-Richland Women’s Golf Team, and each had varying degrees of experience.
Two of them, Emily Campbell and Ruby McCune, made the varsity team last year. Others have played golf, but not competitively, and some are starting to learn the game.
For Rams coach Jared Slimm and assistant Jim McNally, all are welcome.
After having only six daughters last year and some worrying about whether they could field a team, having a good double-digit squad is a positive development.
“We basically said if you want to go out and learn golf this year we’re not going to cut anyone,” said Slimm, who is entering his third season with the Rams. “We will find a place for everyone. They may not all be in a game, but we are ready to teach the game and hopefully develop a love for the game. We want to try to build the program and see some consistency from year to year.
McCune and Campbell are juniors.
Campbell is the most seasoned player, having played golf for several years before joining the team last season.
“She plays a lot with her family members and her grandparents are very involved in her game of golf, so she has some experience,” Slimm said.
McCune first played golf last year, a position many of her teammates currently hold.
“She’s a mature and very positive kid so we expect her to be a bit of a leader for some of our girls who are just starting out,” Slimm said.
Slimm first met McCune while helping the college softball team. McCune still plays softball but also took up golf. She took courses at the North Hills Junior Golf Academy, in order to refine her swing.
“Ruby had a bit of baseball momentum when she started out, but she really worked on her game,” Slimm said. “She learned to put her swing in the way, which is really cool to see.”
Newcomers who have shown potential include freshmen Sydney Fluhrer, Prisha Dargon and Catalina Oliveiro and sophomore Elle Balkovic. All three freshmen are experienced in golf, and Balkovic started playing when the courses opened in May 2020 during the covid-19 pandemic.
“Sydney has been playing for a while, and it really shows,” Slimm said. “She has a very polished game, so we’re just going to tweak a few things to try and get her score (lower). She has all the tools, so we’ll allow her to continue developing her game.
“Prisha also has the potential to contribute. We have a few girls that you can see having athleticism, but their golf swing isn’t as fancy as it could be. We’re excited to be working with them, as we believe there’s a wide range of growth girls can achieve this year, whether it’s scoring at college level or just improving different aspects of their games.
Pine-Richland plays in the 1-AAA section with Blackhawk, Mars, Moon, North Allegheny and Seneca Valley. The Rams play their home games at Conley’s Resort and Golf in Butler.
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer