New Janesville Parker golf coach full of optimism
But the Janesville Parker girls golf team just might have the returning and incoming talent to overcome those losses. First-year coach Mary Ross, who takes over for John Zimmerman this season, isn’t hiding her excitement.
“We’re kind of right in the mix, right in the hunt to have a good season,” Ross said. “We have a really nice core group of seniors.
“We have a strong nucleus, and they’re really a nice bunch of girls.”
Parker certainly is off to a solid start, winning the Elkhorn Invitational for the fourth straight year last Thursday while matching the tournament record score the Vikings set last year. On Friday, Parker took seventh in the rain-shortened Edgewood Invitational.
“It was very encouraging,” Ross said of the early start.
Parker will have to compensate for the departures of state qualifiers Katie Brossard and Molly Rozeboom from last year’s squad. Brossard received a scholarship to play golf at Upper Iowa University.
But the Vikings return three state qualifiers in seniors Amanda Becker, who received All-Big Eight honorable mention last season, and Jennifer Polglaze, as well as junior Taylor Utzig. Those three, along with senior Katie Conroy, will form the Vikings’ top four scorers. They combined for a 5-under-par 67 in the best-ball format at Evergreen to win the Elkhorn Invitational.
Juniors Nicole Fugate and Maggie O’Leary will share the fifth spot for now, but Ross also sees senior Brittany Stuttgen as a developing talent and views the freshmen Lindsey Ahrens, Micayla Richards and Taylor Wyss as possible contributors.
It will be an exciting experience for Ross, a 1981 Edgerton High School graduate, who was an alternate on the 1985 UW-Whitewater women’s golf team that captured the NCAA Division III national championship.
Ross previously coached girls swimming and track at Oshkosh North and girls basketball at Fond du Lac Springs, but golf is her true passion. She finally gets the chance to lead the program in her 13th year on the staff at Parker.
“My passion is golf,” said Ross, who helped tutor former Edgerton High School star Allyssa Ferrell, now a freshman golfer at Michigan State University, from a young age.
“That’s the sport I love, but I’ve coached everything but golf. With John retiring, the opportunity presented itself, so I applied, and I’m just thrilled and excited to be doing this.”
Parker’s remaining schedule:
AUGUST: 19—At Milton (Oak Ridge), 8:30 a.m. 25—Madison La Follette, Verona (Riverside), 9 a.m. 26—Madison West Invitational (Blackhawk CC). 30—At Madison West, with Middleton (Maple Bluff), noon.
SEPTEMBER: 7—Janesville Craig, Beloit Memorial (Riverside), noon. 11—At Middleton (Plesant View), 11:30 a.m. 15—At Madison East, with Madison Menmorial, Sun Prairie (Bridges), noon. 18—Parker Invitational (Riverside), 7:30 a.m. 23—Big Eight meet, at Evansville.