Alpena High girls golf team has plenty of promise in 2023

Courtesy Photo The 2023 Alpena High girls golf team includes, back: Lilian Tolan, Josephine Cabana, Brook Schroeder, Faith Dragiewicz, Grace Bouchard and Sydney Silver (captain); front: Lilly Gembel (captain), Alivia Garrow, Katie Bushey, Ella McKenny and Jami Richards.

ALPENA — After starting the season and achieving a third place finish, the Alpena High girls golf team looks forward to a year of promise.

One of the many challenges the 2023 team could face this year is filling the shoes of the graduating class. Replacing talent is always tricky, especially when Alpena lost one of its best players, Bekah Carlson, this season.

With several girls lacking varsity experience, the 2023 season could see a critical developmental year to see future success.

In the Wildcats’ first tournament, freshman Grace Bouchard stepped up right to the occasion and took home a fourth-place finish, shooting a score of 89.

Another underclassman, sophomore Jami Richards, came away with 10th place by a score of 111.

“I expect big things from these incoming underclassmen. I know they’ve put a lot of work in over the offseason, and I know that their expectations are high, so I’m fully expecting them to rise to meet my expectations and their own,” Alpena coach Tate Skiba said.

Although this season’s team doesn’t have as much experience compared to most teams in the Big North Conference, bringing back a veteran leader could be the key to success.

Alpena retains senior and fourth year player Sydney Silver for her final year on the high school team. Not only is she a great leader and teammate, but Silver won the Alpena City Open championship for the women’s flight last month.

“She’s, of course, our city champion this year. That’s a huge boost mentally to her and the team. It’s great because she knows she can go out and win tournaments. While the rest of the team now understands that high school girls can go out with just about anybody and compete,” Skiba said.

As Skiba enters his fifth season coaching girl’s varsity golf, he understands how tough it can be to compete in the BNC. Alpena will have to play exceptionally well and have many players take a jump to the next level to beat teams such as Petoskey or Traverse City Central.

“I think we stack up against the rest of the BNC pretty favorably. Traverse City Central is going to have a really strong team, which they always do, but the rest of the BNC is wide open. There’s no reason we can’t beat most of the teams in our conference,” Skiba said.

Stringing together a few good performances early on is essential in building confidence and momentum for this younger team. The potential going forward is endless, especially if Skiba and the team play well at the right time.


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