This season was absolutely a success.
Considering where the 2018 Cathedral High School girls golf team started, and considering the collective level experience, Eric Bruns couldn’t see it any other way.
“Overall, it was a very positive season,” Bruns said.
The Irish, one year after graduating a slew of experienced golfers who formed the core of a long run of success, not only won five consecutive dual matches during the 2018 season they also won an eighth consecutive sectional title.
The Irish won the Section 15 Tournament at the Old Oakland Golf Club with a team score of 373, eight shots ahead of runner-up Heritage Christian.
Junior Natalie Schorr led the Irish that day with a score of 87, followed by senior Laurel Hotchkiss at 88, senior Elizabeth Daly at 94, senior Mary Grace Stenson at 104 and senior Kiyah Terrell at 108.
“To have them develop during the year to be able to win sectional was a lot of fun to watch,” Bruns said.
The Irish finished 12th at the Region 3 Tournament at Edgewood, ending their season with a score of 375. Hotchkiss and Schorr led the Irish that day with scores of 93, with Daly shooting 94, Terrell shooting 95 and Stenson shooting 103.
Because of the senior-heavy makeup of the 2017 team, the Irish entered 2018 with a lineup of seniors without extensive varsity experience. Bruns said the early part of the ‘18 season featured a steep learning curve.
The Irish finished third at the City Championship at South Grove Golf Course. Schorr shot 83 and Hotchkiss shot 86, with both earning second-team All-City honors. The Irish also placed third at the All-Catholic Invitational.
“The first week of the season we played four different 18-hole invitationals, with one being at Crooked Stick,” Bruns said. “We were going against the best teams in the state. It was very eye-opening for the girls to see, ‘OK, this is what it’s like playing on that stage.’
“They continuously get better as the season went on.”
Hotchkiss, Daley, Terrell and Jia Webb all had spent several seasons in the Irish program at the junior varsity level, with Stenson switching from volleyball to golf entering her senior season. Stenson posted a 152 early in the season and was consistently in the Irish’s No. 4 or 5 position by season’s end.
“I think they’ll look back on the season with fond memories,” Bruns said. “I hope they think the season was a lot of fun, and that they truly came together as a team – and that nobody was more important than anybody else. That’s one thing we tried to stress throughout the season – that we were a team …
Regardless of whether you were a freshman or a senior who had been around for all four years, we were all needed and we were all part of the same team. In that respect, I think they’ll really look back on it fondly and realize that coming together like that and working together as a team, they were able to accomplish something special.”
If the senior-heavy makeup of the Irish made the ’18 season special and memorable, it also will make the offseason and next season a challenge. Schorr is expected to be the team’s top returner, and Bruns said sophomore Carolina Buhner also was playing well before sustaining a season-ending broken foot at a pep rally. Bruns said freshman Olivia Schilder also showed good potential this season.
“Our main goals going forward are going to be to working the hallways and getting some more players out, as well as seeing what we can bring in with the freshman class,” he said.