It appears as though the tides have turned for female athletics at Portal Middle-High School. First the girls track team shocked Class A public schools by finishing second in the state competition. Just a few days later, the Lady Panthers’ golf team narrowly missed earning a state title at the GHSA Class A golf championships.
The Panthers were edged out by three strokes, ending a successful year for a golf program that is relatively new at the school.
Head coach Jay Reddick, who helped start the golf program four years ago, said the team has made great strides over the years and has no where to go but up.
“Last year we won the area championship and finished fifth in state. That was our first trip to the state championship,” Reddick said. “Going into this year we had a goal to finish higher.”
Portal accomplished its pre-season goal and much more. The team won its second consecutive area championship and shot a 186 at the state competition. Portal finished behind Towns County, which shot a 183.
Just like Portal’s track team, the girls golf team will return a core group from this season’s historic squad.
“Our goal next year is to win it all. We’ve got a young team and next year we’ll have two or three juniors and one senior,” Reddick said.
At state, Faith Reddick and Layne Clark paced the Panthers shooting an 87 and 99, respectively. Individually, Faith Reddick posted the second lowest score of the tournament and Clark’s 99 was a career low.
“It’s a great feeling because not a lot of people from Portal know about golf, but it was cool to bring it back. We brought back second place this year and so did track so it’s great to see our girls sports doing so well,” Faith Reddick said.
Faith Reddick also helped her team win its back-to-back area titles shooting a career low 81 in the area tournament this year. Fellow teammate Caitlyn Girardeau saved her best for last, shooting a career low 103 to help the Panthers clinch the area title.
“This year was great and we’re looking forward to next year,” Faith Reddick said. “We know that we can do it and we know we have a shot at winning state.”
Coach Reddick said his team has their eyes on the prize for years to come. He said his team is used to winning now and they should be a force to be reckoned with.
“We’ve got two or three good years of golf and hopefully we can bring that state championship home next year. They should set some records and continue winning. They could even win four straight area championships, which is unheard of,” Coach Reddick said. “It just brings great fulfillment to know what these girls have accomplished. When we walk into a single-A tournament now, they know who Portal is. They know we’re there to contend.”
Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.