All-RTC girls golf: In competitive season, Valley’s Weaver is repeat Player of the Year
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
It might be cold outside as one reads this, but somewhere an area golfer is readying her swing for next year.
Golf involves a constant pursuit of excellence, and our area seemed to be ground zero for that pursuit this year. Having said that, we are seeing emerging programs at Caston and Culver, a sign that an avocation for a lifetime can start in the teen years.
Even with the constant worry that the sport is pricing itself out of the range of the average family, especially in an age of inflation, more girls seem to want to swing a club. What a good sign that is.
And those who are swinging it are swinging it well.
Five different Three Rivers Conference teams advanced to the regional, a sign that teams could rarely have a bad day and win.
Our pick for RTC Player of the Year is Tippecanoe Valley’s Madelyn Weaver for the second straight year. Weaver was all-TRC and was the top player on what could be argued is the best girls golf team in school history. She has a complete game based on power and touch.
We rely on results as well as conversations with area players and coaches and our own observations.
The results we emphasize include 18-hole events and conference and postseason tournaments. In cases where it’s very close – and this year it was very close – we look at head-to-head meetings since that eliminates weather or pin placements or course conditions as factors in a comparison and simply focuses on the golf.
Madelyn Weaver (Tippecanoe Valley) (RTC Player of the Year) – Weaver gets the slight nod because of her complete game. In two nine-hole matches against Rochester, she was the co-medalist once and the sole medalist the other time.
Olivia Bailey (Rochester) – Historically, Bailey’s freshman year compares well to any of the Lingenfelter sisters. Her iron play really improved as the season progressed, and she just eats up par 5s.
Ava Thomas (Rochester) – Thomas is excellent at course management, never venturing into penalty areas if she does not have to and seemingly never three-putting.
Payton Moore (Rochester) – Moore came up huge at the sectional, shooting an 86 to help the Lady Zs advance. Moore was her team’s No. 3 player but the No. 7 player in the TRC.
Kaydence Mellott (Tippecanoe Valley) – Mellott was all-TRC and played well in all of Valley’s big matches as they broke the school single-season record for match play wins with 20. She also had a very good round at the regional in Kendallville, so we are giving her a slight edge.
Molly Moriarty (Tippecanoe Valley)
Lily Ault (Tippecanoe Valley)
Ashlynn Brooke (Pioneer)
Delaney Barkman (Rochester)
Emilie Schmaltz (Pioneer)
Payton Moore Oliva Bailey Ava Thomas Kaydence Mellott