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English leads Chargers on the links
MARYSVILLE — This season marks the first for the Marysville Getchell High School girls varsity golf team, and the last for their star player Stephanie English who moves on to Central Washington University this fall.
English, a senior, has been playing for her school golf team for three years, the first as part of the Marysville-Pilchuck team and second on a combined team that included Marysville Getchell players. The 2011-2012 school year marked the first for MG’s varsity sports, which meant that English was the only returning varsity player this spring for her golf team, which wasn’t bad for the younger players.
“I try to take them under my wing and share the things I’ve learned,” said English. “My nickname out here is Mama Bear,” she laughed.
But despite her clear success on the green — she is the number one player on her team — she still had to start somewhere.
“My dad has always played golf. It’s always been in my life,” said English. “When I was a kid he would have me chip out there in the yard.”
English began playing golf in her sophomore year and realized quickly that she would have to harness some of her strength. “I’ve always had a lot of power in my swing,” she said. “At first I wanted to hit the ball as hard as I could, but when you first start out that’s not a good thing. The ball never goes straight.”
So in order to build up her talents she started small — she practiced her putting and chipping. “I wanted to have the rest of my game intact before showing off,” she said.
When English began her high school golf career she was scoring in the bottom of her group, but by the end of her first season, she was already the number one junior varsity golfer. She started varsity the following year and climbed from the number six spot to the number four spot. And this year, as a senior, she has been number one for the duration of the season.
“Her contributions to our team are endless, especially when it comes to Stableford points she earns in a match,” said Jaci LeGore Hodgins, MG girls’ golf coach. “She played a key role in us beating Oak Harbor in one of our league matches because she was the medalist and scored double the points of most of our team.”
English spends a lot of time pushing herself to improve.
“I love that I am my own competition,” said English. “I mean, you do play with other people, but you don’t rely on other people.” Even though her time spent on the course is solitary, she also makes sure to help fellow teammates, a trait not lost on her coach.
“Our team is young and inexperienced, but such a wonderful group of girls and Stephanie is the perfect captain to lead this team in our inaugural year as Getchell’s first girls’ golf team,” LeGore Hodgins said.
“I try to keep things light-hearted and I try to keep the mood upbeat, but still throw in advice,” said English.
Although she loves pushing herself to improve, there is still one major drawback to the game. “Well, it is an outside sport,” she joked, gesturing to the clouds. “And in spring we practice no matter what the weather is like.”
English said she is looking forward to her freshman year at CWU. As an MG BioMed Academy and full-time Running Start student, she plans on majoring in clinical physiology and hopes to one day use that degree to become a physical therapist.
And although the school doesn’t have a collegiate golf team, she hopes to join their intramural one. On the question of going pro, “You never know. I like to keep my options open,” she said.