PLANT CITY — It isn't the same team that finished fifth in the Class 2A state tournament in 2011, but Plant City High girls golf coach Meg Jordan said she sees the same kind of talent in her current Raiders, with a team camaraderie that wasn't there two seasons ago.
Not to take away from a talent rich team that produced one all-county first-teamer and three second-team members, but Jordan said this year's squad is something special.
“A few years ago we had a lot of talent, but didn't quite have the mental togetherness,” Jordan said. “But this group is just bonded and that's a huge part of the attributes needed to win. You have to have skill, yes, but you need those other things to succeed.”
Plant City is 9-0 as it heads to Emerald Lakes today to face Steinbrenner. Led by senior Kellyanne Hurst, a member of that 2011 squad, the Raiders have been outstanding this season, posting a nine-hole average of 38. Hurst has been getting support from the rest of the squad. Sophomores Kendall Johnson and Kaylee McIntosh have each stepped up at times this season, according to Jordan. Johnson even took a run at Jordan's nine-hole school record of 33, putting up a 34 last week at Walden Lakes.
The charisma, according to Jordan, is team-wide. A pair of freshmen, Alexis Jordan and Emily Walker, who weren't playing in a match Sept. 11 against Steinbrenner, surprised their teammates with signs and cards of support.
“They made these inspirational cards for all the girls that were playing,” Jordan said. “And that really set the tone, and I got really emotional about it.”
Martin wins event for third time
For the third straight year, Academy of the Holy Names' Emmy Martin, last season's Tampa Tribune girls golfer of the year, led the field at last week's rain-shortened Mustang Invitational at Seminole Lake Country Club. The event was cut to 13 holes with Martin leading the field by three strokes, finishing 4-under in Thursday's tournament.
Martin's performance, along with a sixth-place finish from Casey Pluchino, led the Jaguars to a team championship.
Romeo to play at Pebble Beach
Freedom junior Terese Romeo is off to an outstanding start leading the 5-2 Patriots, including a 34 last Thursday in a win against Newsome. However, this weekend Romeo, 16, will take on some non-high school competition after being selected by First Tee of Tampa Bay to represent the organization — which is run in conjunction with the YMCA — at Pebble Beach in the 2013 Nature Valley First Tee Open.
Romeo will join 80 other national youth amateur players from the First Tee program, an organization with 188 national and international programs, playing in the field of more than 300 golfers including other youth programs and adult professionals, in the three-day tournament. The event will be televised by the Golf Channel.