Sports

Gators counting on super sophomores

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The Decatur girls golf team is the defending South Puget Sound League Central Division champions. But repeating that feat might be a little bit out of the question this season.

The Gators lost plenty of talent from last year’s team, which rolled through the SPSL Central with an 11-1 record.

“We have six sophomores that are working real hard to learn a difficult game,” said Gator coach Rick Dennison, who is entering his seventh season at Decatur.

Meaning the entire starting varsity roster for the Gators are 10th graders and the future looks real bright.

“Their day will come,” Dennison said. “Two years from now, we will be awesome.”

But the Gators won’t be too bad this season. Decatur will be led by Jenna Rochelle and Sindey Solomonson. The pair spent last season on the varsity and played in the postseason tournaments, getting plenty of experience.

Newcomers include sophomores Kalyn Neils, Jackie Collett, Jordan Fowler and Caitlyn Egge.

Decatur started out the SPSL Central season with a win over Federal Way and will take on Sumner on Monday.

Beamer

The Titan girls are a little short on experience entering the 2004 SPSL Central season. But that won’t stop Beamer from making some noise in the league.

“This is only our second year as a program,” coach Jim Nilsen said. “But we are building a solid foundation that will playoff with success in the very near future.”

Nilsen is optimistic about the Titans’ chances this year after a 1-11 campaign in 2003.

“If everything falls into place, we can go .500,” he said.

Helping those chances will be the return of Koco Shin, Jenna Bishop and Madison Mezek and the play of newcomer Sarah Park.

“I have a great group of girls to work with,” said Nilsen. “We are just a little short of golf skills and experience this year. But we are getting better everyday.”

Jefferson

The Raiders finished up the 2003 season with a 6-6 record in the rugged SPSL Central. But Jefferson lost a lot of talent from that roster and will be counting on several underclassmen to score points this season.

“I’m excited about this year’s team,” said first-year coach Jim von Doehren. “They are an enthusiastic group of players who want to improve.”

The returners include junior Kayla Carbon and senior Dani Hayes. But it’s newcomers Holly Giner, Kassidy Robinson, Courtney Tappon and Ali Egerton who will need to step up their games for the Raiders to get some victories.

Federal Way

The Eagles are just looking to improve every match, according to coach Mike Minahan. Federal Way finished 1-11 last season.

“We have a really good group of kids this year,” he said. “I’m just hoping we can be one of those teams who can get better throughout the season.”

Minahan will be counting on senior returners Morgan Swanberg, Aleah Steffans and Brittany Bjork, along with junior Justine Spallino and sophomore Amanda Churchwell.

First-year player Alice Lee also “looks like she will be a varsity player,” Minahan said.

The Eagles opened their SPSL Central season with a pair of losses to Decatur and Sumner, but Minahan was happy with his team’s scoring.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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