Experience could lead Morristown West to a state tournament berth

There is plenty of experience surrounding Morristown West’s golf team this fall.

Head coach of Morristown West Ralph Noble enters his 17th season calling the shots with a team that has quite a few familiar faces.

The young team that was seen just a year ago will return for another year with no athletes lost due to graduation.

The Trojans of West complete their roster with 14 total athletes (four girls and 10 boys).

Eli Steisslinger is the lone senior of the squad but he has four juniors who have stepped up as leaders right behind him on the boys’ team.

“In high school golf, it requires a true team effort to reach goals, so every player will need to contribute,” Noble said. “Steisslinger is our only senior, and he has shown a commitment to lead us through his hard work. Kevin Campbell is a junior who spent a lot of time at the number one position in our lineup last year. That is a big weight to bear considering the player that he found himself up against on a regular basis. Noah Morrison and Brock Shultz are also juniors who have the potential to lead us on any given day.”

For the girls, Savannah Wampler stands as the only upperclassman being a junior. The other three are sophomores who displayed a solid debut year as freshmen.

“All of our ladies have shown improvement, and more importantly, they are demonstrating consistency in their lower 9-hole scores,” Said Noble. “Savannah Wampler will play the number one position to open the year, but Jamie Shepard is right on her heels, with Laryn Reed just behind her. Bri Polk has shown the potential to challenge any of those three for a spot in our rotation. All of these girls have the potential to see their average scores drop from the upper 40s to the low 40s.”

With only two freshmen in the lineup, this Trojans’ team comes in with an additional year under their belt for a majority of the team.

However, the IMAC is no easy conference to play in as a golfer. Each of the top golfers on this team understands what they are up against each match.

It won’t be an easy road, but Noble believes there is a shot at a state tournament berth.

“I think everyone on this year’s team believes that we have the potential to fight for a spot in the state tournament,” Noble said. “The kids have worked hard all summer to improve. We are excited to gauge where we are at in the Morristown Invitational on Monday.”

Fortunately, golf has been one of the very few sports that has not seen many complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidelines for high school golf were given by the United States Golf Association, TSSAA and CDC.

“Golf seems to be the one sport that is least affected by the current situation,” said Noble. “Despite the almost built-in social distancing nature of the game, we will be taking nothing for granted, as we will follow guidelines adopted by the USGA, TSSAA, CDC and other authorities to try and keep all involved as healthy as possible while allowing a return to play. Measures will be implemented to minimize the transfer of germs among players, coaches and spectators.”

West will compete in its first match at the Country Club in the Morristown Invitational Monday.