Athens women’s golf team takes new coach and skills to conference tournament

Natalie Van Genderen, Staff Writer

The Southwest Wake Athletic Conference (SWAC) tournament for women’s golf was Wednesday, Oct. 9 at the Lochmere Golf Club in Cary. The Athens Drive team participated in the tournament and placed third out of seven schools. Emilia Migliaccio, freshman and number one player on the Athens team, was the overall tournament champion and named the SWAC Player of the Year.

Being the first year in eleven years that the Athens team played without Tony Alcon, former head coach and math teacher at Athens, the Lady Jags have had to adjust to the change. Players said that the new coach, Dave Snyder, has kept the team energized and focused on their goals.

“He always tells us to play for ourselves rather than playing for a win,” said Jenna Hiscock, junior. “We really aimed to come closer as a team this season.  That was one of our biggest goals.”

Hiscock has only been on the golf team for one year, but she said she has improved with the help of Snyder and the other players who have more golf experience. She said Snyder has also helped the players individually with their skills and improved the team’s ability as a whole.

“We’ve had team dinners and celebrated birthdays together for some girls on the team and [have] definitely gotten closer,” said Hiscock.

The Lady Jags had been preparing for the tournament throughout the whole season by improving both their golf skills and their relationship as a team. The SWAC tournament was an all-day event at Lochmere, with golfers playing 18 holes each.

“We play nine holes in our regular matches, so 18 holes is a lot more than we’re used to playing,” said Hiscock.

The Athens women’s golf team was the regional champion in both 2010 and 2011 and state champion in 2010, giving the team a high reputation. Before the tournament, the team was placed third in the SWAC and had placed second, third, or fourth in all of this season’s matches.

Aside from the competition between the teams, there was some extra and unexpected excitement at the course. The tournament was interrupted by U.S. Marshals and Cary policemen chasing a federal probation violation suspect on foot at the course. The suspect had crashed his car near the golf course after being pursued and ran from the authorities onto the green.

After the incident was resolved by the police, the match continued and the Lady Jags ended with a total team score of 256.

The top four players on the team are Migliaccio, Jackie Wallace, senior, Lexie Johnston, junior, and Connie Chang, freshman. These players qualified for the regional tournament with a shot average under 50. The regional tournament was Oct. 21 at the Wildwood Green Golf Club in Raleigh. Migliaccio was the top individual golfer with a score of 70 and the Athens team finished with a total team score of 295.