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Girls' golf hopes to pick up from last year

Junior Sierra Peterson tracks the ball during a meet in Devils Lake on Thursday. The girls took fourth in that meet with a combined score of 363.

The Packers girls' golf team has already teed off for the 2013 season, and they have a simple -- but challenging -- goal for the year.

The team looks to build on the success they achieved last season, in which they finished third in the regional tournament and and sixth in the state tournament.

"I was very pleased with last year's team," head coach Dan Wolf said. "We had a lot of inexperienced girls without much time in varsity competition."

What will aid the team in picking up where it left off is the fact that every one of last year's players has returned for this season.

"From a varsity standpoint, it was comforting coming into this year not worrying about how to replace a certain player," Wolf said. "It was more of trying to build on the success we had last year and seeing if we could improve."

The team saw significant improvement over the course of last season. During the first half of the season, the team had an average score of 400, but that improved to an average of 377.6 in the second half.

"With every athlete, there are some nerves in the beginning," Wolf said. "As the season went on, the girls got more comfortable. Early on, I'm looking to see improvements and eliminate mental mistakes. By the time we make it to the middle of season, everything seems to gel better."

The team will be highlighted, once again, by senior Ashley Bixby, who had an average score of 81.7 last year, the third best average in the conference.

"She works incredibly hard," Wolf said. "She is playing all summer and she, very much, wants to play at a high level and fortunately has the work ethic and the skill to do it. She has the talent to play at the next level."

While golf is largely an individual effort, Wolf insists the team's greatest quality is its chemistry amongst the athletes.

"By and large, the girls get along really well," Wolf said. "They pull for each other, and that makes it so much easier. The larger a team is, the more personalities you have to manage and I think they support each other and push each other to be better. That really helps us out toward the end of the year."

On the other hand, the team tends to have issues with consistency.

"We have a lot of players who can have very good holes and very bad holes in the same tournament," Wolf said. "Quite frankly, we tend to think too much. We worry about getting a certain score before we've taken a shot. We like to think seven or eight moves ahead, but there is only one move in front of you."

In the end, Wolf's main goal is to have his team improve and be at its best around the playoffs.

"Ultimately, we want the girls to play their best golf at the end of the year," Wolf said. "After that, all the things you want as a team will sort themselves out."

The Packer girls will participate in the Fargo Davies Invitational tomorrow morning at the Meadows Golf Course in Moorhead.