Girls’ Golf takes swing at sectionals

This year’s Oak Park and River Forest girl’s golf season was one of closeness, both between members of the team, and scores against competitive teams.

The team ended their season at sectionals, after having a strong conference and regionals. Head Coach and OPRF teacher Matt McMurray said that the team got third in conference, “which for us is really strong.” The team placed second in regionals. 

The team’s growth has been seen by all members of the team.

Senior Elle Tanner said that since the team had multiple top golfers they had to, “rely on each other to bring victory to the team.”

Sophomore Isable Stickney said “we beat a lot of the teams that we lost to last year and if we lost they were by like five strokes which is (a) really small (margin).”

In addition to their growth, the team bonded. “This year I feel like we’ve really connected. Like we’ve gotten really close” said Stickney. 

“We have a lot of fun throughout the season,” said McMurray. He noted he has known many of the athletes for “seven or eight years” having coached them in the OPRF golf camp open to middle schoolers.  

Many athletes favorite part of the season was the trip to Decatur, Illinois where the state course is. The golfers play against multiple teams and then stay overnight in a hotel, “We really just talk about life, I feel like it’s a great bonding situation,” said Tanner. The trip provided them an opportunity to bond and get to know each other better.

“It was really fun to hang out with all the girls,” said Stickney.

During the season, building connections was essential to their unity as a team. Tanner and the other captains organized team bondings where the team “just talked… we got to know each other better.” 

Though the captains may have been the ones to organize the outside activities, “it’s a team effort. Everybody on the team is just so positive and inclusive of everyone,” said Tanner. 

The team had new members, and “everyone on the team really did a good job of showing them support, making them feel welcome, and making them feel like a part of the team,” said Tanner. 

Even though the season is over, Stickney says she still “talks to the girls every day.”

Coach support was also essential to their success this season. McMurray “helped a lot with how to improve our game, not only our swings and stuff, but also course management,” said Stickney.

McMurray emphasized the mental aspect of golf. “I preach consistency,” he said. 

The older and more experienced team members had the opportunity to provide guidance for some of the underclassmen. The seniors were  “so helpful. They have the best advice,” said Stickney.

Looking forward, McMurray is excited for the potential of an even better season next year with the chance of sending athletes to state. “If they put in the appropriate work in the offseason I think we have a roster of four to five girls who could potentially make it.”

“Even though I’m leaving I’m excited for the team next year,” said Tanner.