For the Holt girls golf team, this season is one of good news and bad news.
That bad news for the Rams is that all-stater Mariah Massa graduated last spring and is now golfing for the Michigan State Spartans. The good news is that everyone else is back from a team that finished third at the Division 1 state meet last fall.
“We’re off to a really nice start this season,” said coach Mike Harkema. “In all the big invitationals we’ve played, we’ve finished in the top five. We’re ranked seventh in the state, and it’s been a pretty solid year so far.
While the Rams don’t have Massa to lead the way, they have a new standout developing in sophomore Pader Her.
“Pader has been playing fabulous,” Harkema said. “She has been in the top five of every invitational we’ve played. It’s been a big help to us.”
Although small in stature, Her has large talent on the golf course.
“Pader’s short game is phenomenal,” Harkema said. “She finds a way to get it in and she‘s a fighter, too. We were down in Ann Arbor playing Michigan’s course and she sort of struggled just a little bit. She shot a 41 or 42 on the front and came back with a 37 or it might have even been par on the back nine. She’s a golf, I don’t know, gym rat. I’m a basketball coach so, I’d say she’s a range rat. She’s on the course all the time. She really works hard at it.”
Her is joined in the lineup by a veteran group of seniors who have grown up in the program.
“Casey Harkema is playing, too, and she’s my daughter,” Harkema said. “It’s a little bittersweet, senior year, but she’s having a pretty nice year. Lauren Strong is a senior and Carrie Summerville is a senior so those three girls have come all the way through our program together, and it’s just a blast coaching them.”
The senior class was a key part of last year’s team that finished third at the state meet and is gearing up for another crack at state.
“We lost Mariah who is at MSU right now, but we’ve come back pretty strong,” Harkema said. “It’s been an exciting year so far. We’re hoping, if we can all bring it together at the right time, that we could, you know, I’m not quite sure if we’re good enough to win a state title in Division 1, but we’re really shooting for a top-five finish at states and going for our fourth regional title in a row, and I think there’s a good chance that will happen.”