Pioneer’s girls golf team had the best showing among area teams at the annual season-opening Caston Invitational at Pond View Golf Course Wednesday.
The Panthers shot a 435 to place fourth in the 11-team field. Cass had a 492 to finish sixth, Winamac posted a 524 to place seventh and Caston shot a 538 to place ninth.
Wabash won with a 389, and Wabash’s Katie Smith was the medalist with an 83.
Pioneer was led by Mati DeWitt, who shot a 94 which was good enough for sixth among all individuals. She was followed by Randi Miller (111), Jamie Musselman (115), Nicole Shroder (115) and Mikayla Greiner (119).
With several starters back from last year’s Midwest Conference championship team, Pioneer coach Dale Samuels was hoping to see some lower scores from his squad.
“We were 35 strokes higher than we were at conference, so we’ve got some work to do and a short time to do it,” he said.
The Panthers had four juniors in their lineup and just one senior, and Samuels is expecting to see improvement from his squad.
“In the area we should be competitive,” he said. “We’ve never had a dual winning record, and last year we were just two away.
“This should be our best season we’ve had since I’ve been the coach.”
Cass was led by Bailey Oakley’s round of 112, followed by Macie Thomas (113), Megan Hildebrandt (131) and Jena Hughes (136).
“It was a bit of a struggle for just about everybody there, all the teams,” Cass coach Charlie Jones said. “Everyone was nervous and you could tell many of the girls hadn’t played much. It was a pretty long day.”
The Kings have four golfers out for the team, all seniors, and Jones expects the scores to go down.
“Hopefully we bounce back and play better against Eastern at home [today],” he said. “We’ll get to the driving range early and work on some things.”