The Palmyra girls golf team has contended ahead of schedule. Now the program enters its third season with higher expectations than ever before.

The Palmyra girls golf team has contended ahead of schedule.

Now the program enters its third season with higher expectations than ever before under coach Chris Parsons.

Olivia Sublette, Samantha Hirner, Reigan Parsons and Sara Ridout return as juniors after each qualified for Class 1 sectionals as individuals a year ago.

The experienced quartet has its eyes set on reaching state as a full team this time around.

“Going into our third year, I'm pretty excited and I hope the expectations aren't too hard on the girls, but three of these girls are in their third year and four made it to sectionals last year,” Parsons said. “Anytime you bring four back like that, your outlook is promising and hopeful. 

“I think we have a legit shot as a team at the top two in our district this year and maybe get out of the sectional into state. We'll see what happens.”

Sublette, Hirner and Parsons have been involved with the team since its inception in 2016. Sublette led the Lady Panthers with a seventh-place individual finish at the district tournament last year. 

The trio of third-year players serve as leaders for the emerging program.

“Olivia starts as our No. 1, but any given day, it could be Olivia, Sam or Reigan,” Parsons said. “Those three I expect to shoot mid- to low-40s. Whether that's too high of an expectation, I don't know, but I think they're capable. Any of those three could go out and put up a good number.” 

Ridout proved to be a pleasant surprise last year in her first season of high school golf. She saved her best for last by carding her lowest 18-hole score of the season at districts last season.

“Sara joined us last year and had never touched a golf club,” Parsons said, adding he has been impressed with her fast improvement. 

Freshmen Mallory Comstock and Maddie Jawad round out the roster, which comprises just enough players for a varsity squad.

“Mallory has played a lot of golf,” Parsons explained. “It's different to have a lefty out here, but she is off to a good start. And Maddie has picked up a whole lot already.”

Having six players allows everyone to play at every competition.

That being said, Parsons hopes the team's success can lead to more interest in the future.

“Six is awesome because every girl gets to go out and play every day for every tournament, but we want more girls out," he said. "We want to get some of the young ones interested. Hopefully we're heading the right direction.”