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Girls golf team is short on experience

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HARTINGTON — Sheila Jueden is facing quite the coaching challenge as the leader of the Cedar Catholic/Hartington-Newcastle girls golf team heading into her 10th season in charge of the program.

Not only will she have a very young team tasked with trying to get the squad to a fifth-straight Class C state tournament, but Jueden also has to coach knowing the COVID-19 pandemic could shut down all the team’s good works this season.

For now, the program will rebuild after losing several stalwarts. Maizie Christensen, Lauren Heine and Bekah Kleinschmit all graduated, while, Grace Biltoft has moved to Omaha.

But senior Delayne Sudbeck is a good place to start. “It will be different this year in the fact we graduated three seniors last year and I am the only varsity returning player this year,” Sudbeck said. “We have a JV girl – Jenna Wiebelhaus – who improved a lot over the summer and definitely put in the work.”

Sudbeck noted that the newcomers offer a lot of promise including her cousin, freshman Maci Schommer, who will have to adjust from being able to mostly do her own thing to now being coached regularly.

“She and I have golfed since I could walk, so it will be nice to have her on the team,” Sudbeck said. “I think Sheila will do a good job with her.”

Jueden noted the team’s strength is a serious work ethic.

“The girls are willing to work hard and want to be good this year,” Jueden said. “They have great attitudes and are anxious to play. Our weakness is that we have only four girls. The girls each have their goals set, whether it be no three putts, to shooting course records to medal at every meet.

“In the end - state is the ultimate goal.”

The lack of team depth doesn’t keep Sudbeck from seeing the potential positives.

“It will still be a good time and we will be making memories and having fun if we are winning every meet, finishing second or third or not even placing,” Sudbeck said. “It will be a restart year, but we will still put in the work. If we work at it, we might get to be one of the top three teams that get to state out of district or at least get really close.”

Jueden sees Norfolk Catholic and Battle Creek as the teams to beat in the conference and district races, while they hope to come close to last year’s impressive run of finishing in the top four of every meet, including a tying-school record best fourperson total on 18 holes at the Pierce Invitational (371).

The hope is to just have a season to play.

“For me, the golf course with all this corona has been open for the most part so I have still been able to go out and play,” Sudbeck said. “But to actually go out and have a senior season hopefully, will be nice. I have been very optimistic. I haven’t really thought, ‘it’s just golf.’ I don’t see why we can’t have a season. We are outside and doing it all during the COVID season so I don’t see why we couldn’t have a season.

“We don’t have to worry about a big crowd at our games. It’s just our parents and that’s all we really have. Them and other coaches as spectators.

Jueden hopes the nature of golf can work to its advantage during the pandemic.

“I feel fortunate golf isn’t as focused on as the other fall sports,” she said. “We really don’t have to worry about spectators as much or contact with other players. I think the only issue that will arise is whether we leave the pin in or out.”

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