Walton girls golf coach Richard Myrick knew he had a young team coming into the 2021 season.
When tournament play began, he had a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior in the starting lineup. However, that youth proved to not be a concern, with one exception -- the state tournament.
“We didn’t get to play last year, and I think that affected us a little bit in the first round of the state tournament,” Myrick said after completing his 15th year at Walton. “We were a little nervous.”
That nervousness led to a first-round team score of 270, which left the Lady Raiders in fifth place. Walton came back by shooting 247 in Round 2 and finished third in the Class AAAAAAA event.
It was the capper to arguably the program’s best season since 2014.
“I love talking about my girls,” said Myrick, the 2021 Cobb County Girls Golf Coach of the Year. “We were fairly inexperienced, but we played eight tournaments and won the first five we played in. We finished third in the state and won the area by about 52 shots.”
Walton won the Lady Rambler Tournament, Brookwood Invitational, Spring Fling at Apple Mountain and the weather-shortened Cobb County Championship.
The team also set a new program record by shooting a single-round total of 225 at the Brookwood Invitational to better the previous mark of 230.
One of the more impressive things about the Lady Raiders' program is the amount of players who come out for the team. With 18 on the roster, it is a constant competition to determine who the four players will be to start on the varsity squad.
“They compete with each other,” Myrick said. “We have a ladder and everybody has a spot on the ladder. You can challenge yourself to move up the ladder at practice.”
Myrick said senior Margaret Grace started 14th on the depth chart but worked her way up to the No. 5 position.
Grace, along with four of her teammates, are scheduled to compete in the High School Golf National Invitational from June 23-25 at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.
Team captain McKensey Kaseta will be unable to compete at the tournament, but freshman Olivia Packer will take her place.
Being a fairly young team, Myrick expects the team’s momentum to roll over into next season.
“Golf is a strange sport. You can either improve or you get staggered and stay where you are,” Myrick said. “But my young girls, they practice, they work. They love to play golf and they work at it. That’s what it takes to be successful. I expect us to have a good team. How good, I do not know.”