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2013 Spring Preview: Youthful East Ridge girls golf team should compete for conference, section titles

Molly Richardson returns to help lead a young but talented East Ridge girls golf team lineup this spring.

East Ridge's second-year head coach Mark Retica has a youthful but talented group of golfers this spring.

"We've had a tremendous turnout this spring, with 30 girls trying out for the golf team at East Ridge," Retica said. "Our team will be young again this year, but also experienced."

A year ago, the East Ridge girls golf team finished second in the Suburban East Conference standings and had five golfers earn All-Conference or All-Conference honorable mention awards. Three of those five are back with the club this season.

Current juniors Molly Richardson and Andriel Aimua were All-Conference as sophomores and junior Taylor Anderson was an All-Conference honorable mention golfer last year. As a team, East Ridge finished second behind 2012 SEC champion Stillwater.

Anderson and Richardson will captain the team this year, along with junior Jaedyn Walz.

The Raptors will need to fill the holes left by 2012 graduates Ashley Lehner and Celina Spencer, who were both All-Conference golfers last spring.

Last year, East Ridge was unable to send a golfer to the state tournament -- something the Raptors would like to change this season.

East Ridge's season came to an end at the two-day Section 3AAA Championship Tournament. With its finish in the top five on day No. 1, the Raptors earned a trip to day No. 2 and finished in fourth place overall in the 11-team section. Overall, East Ridge shot a 718 with a 359 on the first day and a 359 on the second day. Eastview won the Section 3AAA championship with a 672.

Out of section play, only one team advances to state, based on the two-day total, along with five individuals not on the top team.

Individually, Aimua had the Raptors' top two-day total, shooting a 174, with an 85 on the first day and an 89 on the second day. Her score was good for seventh place overall out of those not on Eastview's roster. Anderson carded the Raptors' second-best score, shooting a 179 with a 92 on the first day and an 87 on the second day. Spencer and Richardson rounded out the Raptors' top four.

East Ridge now turns it gaze toward the 2013 season. Weather permitting, East Ridge opens the season by hosting a two-day, 20-team invitational at Prestwick Golf Club and Eagle Valley Golf Club on April 12 and 13. The team's first conference match is set for April 15 at Stillwater Country Club.