A young and inexperienced Superior High School girls golf team opened the season with a second-place finish at the Hayward Invitational Wednesday, Aug. 21, at Big Fish Golf Course.

Sophomore Keely Morehouse, the only returning Spartan with varsity experience, captured medalist honors with a career-low score of 104.

Emma Cooper finished in seventh place at 109; followed by Lily Walrath, 134, and Kendall Callery and Niya Wilson, 145s. All are sophomores, except Wilson, who is a senior.

“Big Fish is a demanding course just to walk, let alone golf,” SHS coach Ed Willie said. “Despite Keely playing as our No. 1 for the first time, and the other four playing 18 holes for the first time as varsity, they all held up extremely well after they got over their nerves.

“Keely played great. She’s worked so hard all summer trying to beat 50 on any nine holes and she did that on the front with a 47. Emma was also amazing with a career-best 51 on the front. She has improved a lot already this season.”

Also expected to see varsity time this season are sophomores Brooklyn Beattie and Paige Hansen, who is battling an injury.

Newcomers include juniors Chesie Mclaughlin and Stephanie Paine; sophomores Brooklyn Beattie and Emma Winberg; and freshmen Emma Raye, Lauren Verdoljak and Haley Zembo.

Among key players lost from last season are Kacy Larson, Bridget Beyer and Lauren Raboin, who graduated, and Naomi McClennon, who moved.

“We’re growing as a team,” Willie said. “We have 13 girls and most all of them are new to golf, but are athletes in other sports and are willing to learn.”

Willie noted that Wilson is an excellent basketball, soccer and softball player.

“She joined the team for her senior project and was already voted captain along with Keely,” Willie said. “Keely is also a strength of our team as she has taken her game to the next level this summer. Her putting and course management are improving tremendously.”

Willie noted that Northwestern is expected to finish near the top of the Heart O’ North Conference, along with Hayward and the Spartans.

“We finished ahead of every team in the conference at the Barron scramble, except Northwestern and Hayward,” Willie said. “Our goal is to just keep getting better. The core of our team is at the ninth- and 10th-grade level, so to some degree, we are playing to see how good we can be in a couple years.

“Although Niya is our only senior and captain, she will be a part of any future success we have as she is such a great competitor, hard worker, and a great example for the younger golfers.”

The Spartans host Hayward and Ladysmith at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at the Nemadji Golf Course.

SPARTAN SPIN: Willie’s assistant coach is Brad Larson. … Janelle Stewler is believed to be the only Spartan to advance to girls state state tournament, tying for 46th place in 2009 with a two-day score of 181. … Willie returned to coaching the SHS girls last season. He previously coached the Spartan girls from 2001-2006 and the boys from 2006-2007. His overall record during those stints was 61-19.

Hayward Invitational

Spooner, 491; Superior, 492; Ladysmith, 500; Barron, 507; Chetek, 541; Cumberland, 545; Luck, 566. Hayward competed but only had two golfers.