The maturation process takes time.
The Riverhead Blue Waves girls golf team may be coming off an 0-10 season in Suffolk County Division III last year, but their coach, Rich Gebhardt, likes the way the team is rounding into form.
Riverhead will be led by a trio of juniors in Elizabeth Appleby, Jessie Langdon and Aysha Ozgilmaz. Gebhardt called Appleby “our most improved golfer, and she is a very good putter.” Langdon, a long hitter, was the team’s most valuable player last year.
Sophomore Kendall Stark, freshmen Karla Reyse, Catherine Brophy, Carina Oliva, and Erika Ochoa, and eighth-graders Kaylee Wells, Erin Kealey, Karyn Torre and Jackie Hulse will all see action.
Gebhardt said Wells is “really good, with great form.”
“Our veterans are taller and stronger this season,” Gebhardt said. “We still have a lot of young golfers on our team. All I want them to do is the best they can and to have fun.”
With any young golf team, consistency can be elusive. “As we gain some more experience, the consistency will come,” Gebhardt said. “For now, I want each player to try and do one thing better. When they hit the ball, I want them to know where the ball is going to go.”
Gebhardt said it will still be difficult to beat top teams like Mount Sinai, Sachem North, Ward Melville and Sachem East, but he likes the way his players are pulling for each other.
“Our team spirit is great,” he said. “The girls are really rooting each other on.”
Riverhead will open the season at home today at Cherry Creek Golf Links against the Sachem East Flaming Arrows.
“We can be better this season,” Gebhardt said. “Only time will tell, but I feel good about this team and the direction we are heading in.”