Girls Golf season wrap up 

Members+of+the+Nazareth+Girls+Golf+Team+from+left+to+right%3A+Megan+Kornafel%2C+Cate+Vahl%2C+Emma+Akalaitis%2C+Ivy+Verburgt%2C+Lily+Verburgt%2C+and+Lydia+Breslow%0A

Photo by Nicole Jeray

Members of the Nazareth Girls Golf Team from left to right: Megan Kornafel, Cate Vahl, Emma Akalaitis, Ivy Verburgt, Lily Verburgt, and Lydia Breslow

Emily Sackley

As the Nazareth Girls’ Golf team finished up the season, The Announcer interviewed Coach Nicole Jeray and three of the team members to get their perspectives on golfing in 2020.

Coach Jeray is pleased with the season even though it was an unprecedented year. “Despite COVID virus, we were able to have a fantastic golf season. Big thanks to Coach Chuck Rohlf for his perseverance in getting matches on the schedule! We were able to have a full season. Not all high schools had this experience!” 

However, the pandemic did have some emotional effects on the players. Jeray stated, “Starting the season, we struggled emotionally and physically because of the loss of two top players transferring to Culver Academies.” 

Despite the losses, the team came back stronger than ever. The irony is that COVID had something to do with that. Jeray said, “Due to the COVID virus, there were more girls interested in being on the team. Golf is a safer activity because it is played outside with social distancing being a normal part of the game. Many other sports and activities have been cancelled so golf has become very popular. In the past, we were begging for girl golfers. This year we had over 20 girls interested.” 

Jeray added, “Our Naz Girls powered through and continued to improve week to week!!  The team really bonded this year! The girls had fun and surprised everyone with their outstanding play at Regionals. Never underestimate a Roadrunner – we qualified for Sectionals! Team effort at its finest!”

Seeing the joy on the girls faces when they hit an amazing shot is most rewarding for me.”

— Coach Jeray

According to Jeray, the team has acquired an important member due to the cancellation of another sport. “One player, Lydia Breslow, only played this year because her main sport, soccer, was limiting participation on her travel teams. Lydia turned out to be our top player. On and off the golf course, Lydia was a fantastic addition to the team.”  

Breslow had a great season and was able to build relationships with her teammates, too. “This golf season has gone great! We got to exactly where we wanted to be, which was participating in the sectional.” 

Breslow also mentioned that the team has built strong friendships. She explained that she thinks the bus rides really helped to bond the team. “We all practice as a whole and ride the bus as a whole. Regardless if you are on JV or Varsity, each player gets the chance to build friendships with everyone.” Breslow feels that her golf skills have improved this year, and is glad that the pandemic did not affect golf as much as it did other sports.

To get perspective from other players, The Announcer consulted with sisters Lily and Ivy Verburgt. The sisters both felt that this season went well; their skills have improved and the season was not affected too much by the pandemic. 

Ivy said her favorite part about being on the team was, “all the different golf courses I could experience. I loved how some of the golf courses were challenging while others were quite simple.” Lily added, “I think that the girl’s golf team has come very far compared to last year. I think it was a very fun year and we will do even better next year. The pandemic did affect us, but we pulled through and did our best.”

Jeray is very pleased with the team and the season. “Every girl on our team has the potential to play great golf. I am looking forward to guiding them to the next level. I absolutely love that all the girls enjoy being on the golf course, want to improve, and give 100% on every shot. Seeing the joy on the girls faces when they hit an amazing shot is most rewarding for me.”

Jeray left with some hope for the future: “The Future of Naz Girls Golf is very bright. No graduating seniors, motivated current players, and a few 8th grade prospects that could help take Naz to the state championship in 2021.”