Larger roster a boost for Pine-Richland girls golf

Sunday, August 22, 2021 | 10:01 AM

There were 14 girls who came to tryouts for the Pine-Richland girls golf team, and each one had a varying degree of experience.

A couple of them, Emily Campbell and Ruby McCune, played on the varsity team last year. Others have played golf, but not in competition, and there’s some who are in the beginning stages of learning the game.

For Rams coach Jared Slimm and assistant Jim McNally, all are welcome.

After having only six girls last year and some worry if they’d be able to field a team, having a group well into double-digits is a positive development.

“We basically said that if you want to come out and learn the game of golf this year, we’re not going to cut anybody,” said Slimm, who is entering his third season with the Rams. “We’ll find a place for everyone. They all may not get to compete in a match, but we’re willing to teach the game and, hopefully, develop a love for the game. We want to try to build up 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 family members, and her grandparents are very involved in her golf game, so she has some experience,” Slimm said.

McCune played golf for the first time last year, which is a position that many of her teammates are currently in.

“She’s a mature and very positive kid, so we’re looking to her to be a little bit of a leader for some of our girls that are just starting out,” Slimm said.

Slimm first met McCune while helping out with the middle school softball team. McCune still plays softball but has taken to golf as well. She has had some lessons at the North Hills Junior Golf Academy, in pursuit of fine-tuning her swing.

“Ruby had a bit of a baseball swing when she first started, but she’s really worked on her game,” Slimm said. “She has learned how to get her swing on path, which is really cool to see.”

Some newcomers who have shown potential include freshmen Sydney Fluhrer, Prisha Dargon and Catalina Oliveiro and sophomore Elle Balkovic. The three freshmen have experience playing golf, and Balkovic started playing when courses opened in May 2020 during the covid-19 pandemic.

“Sydney has played for a while, and it really shows,” Slimm said. “She has a very polished game, so we’re going to just tweak some small things to try to get her score (lower). She has all the tools, so we’re going to allow her to continue to grow her game.

“Prisha also has the potential to contribute. We have a few girls that you can see have athleticism, but their golf swing isn’t as polished as it can be. We’re excited to work with them, because we feel like there’s a wide range of growth the girls can make this year, whether that’s scoring on the varsity level, or just have improvements in different aspects of their games.”

Pine-Richland plays in Section 1-AAA with Blackhawk, Mars, Moon, North Allegheny and Seneca Valley. The Rams play their home matches at Conley’s Resort and Golf in Butler.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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