LAMAR, Mo. —
Joplin High School golf coach Shannon Rhinehart-Neill has just one senior, only two juniors but the proverbial ton of optimism for the season that opens today for the Eagles.
Starting time is about 9 a.m. for the Carthage Girls Taco Town Invitational at Carthage Golf Course.
Rhinehart-Neill said the Eagles, with 10 players, will field two teams in the tournament.
“We’re a little anxious for tomorrow to get here for that first tournament,” Rhinehart-Neill said with a laugh on Sunday.
Sophomores Samantha Stout and Lynsey Fichtner currently are the top players for Joplin, Rhinehart-Neill said, with a battle among sophomores Alyx Colson and Maggie Dowell and junior Chanci McGowen for positions three through five.
“The competition has been very close,” Rhinehart-Neill said of Colson, Dowell and McGowen.
Angie Besendorfer is the Joplin senior and Marissa Queen its other junior.
Kylie Jones and Caroline Statler, both sophomores, and freshman Destiny Phillips round out the roster.
Stout and the graduated Cassidy Grooms paced the Class 2 Eagles last season, Rhinehart-Neill said.
“We missed by three strokes in the district to qualify for sectional play,” Rhinehart-Neill said. “Stout and Fichtner joined Grooms in reaching the sectional round as individuals and Grooms made it to state.
“Stout has been playing very well and is solidly No. 1,” Rhinehart-Neill said.
“I’m excited,” Rhinehart-Neill said. “We can have a great season. These girls worked hard in the summer. They’ve taken lessons.”
Rhinehart-Neill said the Eagles face a busy week, They open at home (Twin Hills) at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday against Carl Junction, Carthage and Girard. The Eagles travel for the Nevada Tournament on Friday.
West Plains won the Ozark Conference Tournament in 2011 at Lebanon GreatLife Golf and Fitness.
Team scores: West Plains 360, Kickapoo 387, Lebanon 398, Joplin 409, Camdenton 435, Rolla 450, Waynesville 455.
Camdenton junior MacKenzie Griffin shot 41-43—84 for medalist honors. Stout logged a 45-42—87 and Fichtner a 48-46—94.
Rhinehart-Neill, a state champion at Columbus (Kan.) as a senior in 1998, is in her seventh season at Joplin. She also played golf for four years at Newman University of Wichita.