Park Hill South will rely heavily on a returning Class 2 Missouri State Golf Championships qualifier to carry an inexperienced roster.
After competing in Class 2 Sectional 4 as a team, the Panthers lost a strong senior class that included two-time state qualifier Miranda Steczak — last year’s surprise District 8 individual champion. She went on to place 29th at state while Sadie Franklin, now a junior, made her debut with a tie for 71st.
“We graduated four seniors so we have a lot of shoes to fill,” Park Hill South coach Tracy Mangels said. “We are going to rely heavily on a junior this year, a returning state qualifier from last year, and then going to have a good opportunity for the rest of the girls to compete for spots on the team.”
Last season, Park Hill South finished third in the Suburban Conference Red Division championships before peaking in the postseason.
Steczak’s championship along with top-15 finishes for Franklin and Erica Edmisten pushed the Panthers into third place with a 359, just five strokes off of one of two automatic team sectional qualifying spots. Grace Cunningham also made the individual state cut, allowing them to compete as a team with four golfers at sectionals.
Only Franklin returns from the squad that ended up fifth out of nine teams at Sectional 4. Mangels expects sophomore Annie McFee, senior Kate Eischens and junior Olivia Siebert to help fill out the lineup behind Franklin.
“Their roles are obviously going to be a lot larger roles this year than what it has been in the past,” Mangels said. “I think overall it’s going to be a rebuilding year for several teams which is good for us. It gives us a better opportunity for us to compete but it’s going to be tough as always; I would imagine we’re still going to run into Liberty until someone can beat them.”