After the most dominant showing by a team in Missouri girls golf championship history last fall, Westminster enters this season knowing full well it will get every opponent’s "A" game.
“I think everybody will be gunning for us. The target is on our back,” Wildcats coach Steve Bradley said. “But that will push at least a couple of our girls to be that much better. We’ve got several girls that can rise to that challenge.”
Westminster totaled a 340 at the Class 1 state meet in Bolivar to beat second-place Maryville by 91 strokes, which shattered the record for margin of victory by 29 strokes.
“We had four girls in the top seven in the state, and we only lost one of them,” Bradley said. “We are pretty excited about this year.”
Brooke Cusumano fired 80 and 84 to win the Class 1 medal title, and she returns for her senior season.
“I’m pretty excited,” Cusumano said. “It’s always fun to defend your title, but it also makes it kind of harder, too, because everyone’s expecting you to do well. I’m just gonna focus on my game.”
Cusumano has geared up for the season with a solid summer on the links.
“She’s been working hard all summer,” Bradley said. “She’s a fierce competitor.”
Junior Jordan Wolf also has been fantastic in her first two seasons for the Wildcats, including first-place finishes at the conference, district and sectional meets last season before a nagging wrist injury slowed her down slightly, although she still finished fourth at state.
“She thinks she has worked her way through the wrist thing,” Bradley said. “She has played from Florida to California this summer in various tournaments, and she has been bringing her scores way down.”
The third returning player is senior Ciara Younger, who notched one of her better finishes of the season in tying for seventh at state.
“She’s been playing a lot this summer in the Gateway PGA and Accelerated Golf Tour,” Bradley said. “She’s really worked on her game, and she’s anxious to get going.”
The final two starting spots are up for grabs, with sophomore Megan McDaniel and freshmen McKenna Montgomery and Lauren Griesedieck among those in the mix.
“It’s gonna be a good competition, and that will only make us better,” Bradley said.
Cusumano, for one, is excited about the young crop of Wildcats poised to make their marks.
“There are some girls who really worked this summer, and they can do it,” she said. “I think we’re still pretty stacked. If we get that fourth score in there, we’ll be really good, I think. If we can get that four even in the low 90s or high 80s, that would be the topping on the cake.”
Even so, the terrific trio at the top will be the ones to help take Westminster a long way.
“All three of them are hungry to get back out there,” Bradley said. “In fact, they are the hungriest group I’ve ever had. They just want to play golf.”