Caylin Steinberg and Caitlin Clause have been on the Mankato East girls golf team long enough to develop a friendly rivalry.
“There’s a lot of competition,” Clause said. “Some meets, she’ll score better than me, and that pushes me to do better.”
Clause and Steinberg, friends since junior high and varsity teammates since their freshmen season, are the top returning players for the Cougars, who finished fifth in the Big Nine Conference last season.
“(Steinberg) is a tall girl and she hits the ball fairly long,” coach Aaron Anderson said. “She’s done a lot of work on her short game, and hopefully that pays off.
“(Clause) is a steady player, very consistent. She doesn’t blow up on a hole. If you can stay away from the big score on a hole, you can usually score pretty well.”
Other returning varsity players are juniors Emily Stengel and Amanda Broman and freshman Alexis Just.
“A lot of these girls started playing golf as freshmen, and they’re getting to the point where they’re pretty good players,” Anderson said.
Other players who were on the team last season are juniors Molly Manning, Hayley Spoors and Meghan Dauk.
“I think we can do pretty good,” Clause said. “We have a few returning varsity player so we still should be pretty strong.”
East is scheduled to host Waseca on Monday at North Links Golf Course.
First-year coach Matt Carroll said he’s still trying to figure out his team, though with 19 players out in the top four grades, he sees some eager kids.
“We’re focused on individual and team goals,” Carroll said. “We have a good group to work with. These are well-rounded girls who compete in other sports and organizations. And it looks like they all do very well in school, too.”
Seniors Laura Carpenter and Claire Park are the captains, and senior Eleanor Dhuyvetter was the medalist in one meet.
“She’s our No. 1 player,” Carroll said. “I’m still getting to know the team a little better.”
The Scarlets won one invitational two triangulars and one duel meet.
Other seniors out for the team are Autumn Norris and Madeline Buseth. Junior Emily Smith and sophomore Kendra Allen each have some varsity experience.
West opens the season Saturday, April 13, at the Marshall Invitational.