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Central High School

Girls Golf

TONY CASTRO Hernando Today correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 07:33 PM

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Kae Elliott

Nature Coast – Senior

COMMENTS: A rare four-time All-County selection … Was the Lady Sharks' undisputed leader … As a frosh, she averaged 47.1 strokes per nine holes to rank fourth in the county scoring race. A year later, she finished runner-up to Springstead's Megan Berube, 36.3-45.3 … In 2011, she finished third in the scoring race behind Berube (39.0) and Central's Stephanie Rodney (43.1) with a 43.8 average … As a senior, she excelled whittling her average to a career-best 43.2 – again finishing behind Berube (39.6) and Rodney (39.9) … On Oct. 2 at World Woods, though Nature Coast lost to Springstead by 34 shots, 189-223, Elliott beat Berube head-to-head, 39-42 … Another personal milestone was capturing this year's Class 1A, District 8 Tournament low medalist honors behind a fine 39-38—77 total at Rivard … Elliott closed out her career behind her school-record fourth regional berth … Elliott helped guide Nature Coast to its first-ever district championship in nine seasons of existence. 

QUOTES: "Her key this season was she kept improving every single week. … We're not only going to miss her game, we're going to miss her contagious attitude. She was always so positive around the other girls. Her confidence rubbed off on everybody else. … What I'll miss most is her leadership; that was huge. She was the first person to help anyone out. She encouraged our girls to play on the weekends, during the summer, whenever – just to get better. To me, she's the essence of a true team leader."

- Nature Coast head coach Cheryl Paradis

Stephanie Rodney

Central – Senior

COMMENTS: Named All-County for a third straight season … She played as a freshman, but suffered an injury and did not complete her first season … Played in three varsity matches as a frosh averaging 42.7 per nine holes. In her first full season in 2010 – spanning 17 matches – Rodney's average ballooned to 46.5 … From that point forward, however, she whittled her average to 43.1 in 2011 – finishing second in scoring average locally to Berube's 39.0 … Capped off a stellar senior campaign with a 40.4 average – again only behind Berube's county-best 39.3 … The three-time regional qualifier capped her final prep season by capturing a first-place blue ribbon behind an 18-hole 73 in the Class 2A, District 5 Tournament at Pine Oaks in Ocala.

QUOTES: "Stephanie had an outstanding season. … She definitely stepped her game up. … She was very committed and went from a carefree-type player to an extremely committed golfer. … Her biggest strength is she does everything on the course really well. She can drive right with Berube. And she's quite good at her short game. She's become an athlete. … She's very quiet on the golf course, but she gets it done. … I know she can play at the next level. I'm excited for her."

- Central head coach Vicki Weaver 

Emma Betters

Springstead – Senior

COMMENTS: Similar to Berube, Elliott and Rodney, Betters is a four-year varsity letterman … Like Rodney, she too is a three-time All-County pick … Is looked at as the best athlete on this all-star team. Betters is Springstead's returning starting goalie and was named All-County in soccer last winter … She has toiled in the shadows of Berube as the team's number two player. As a freshman, she finished fifth in the county scoring race at 55.1 shots per nine holes. In 2010, Betters swelled to a 57.7 average and did not make All-County … As a junior, she regained her poise and concluded the season ranked fourth in scoring (53.9). Her season was highlighted behind an extremely rare hole-in-one during the Class 2A, Region II Tournament at Palm Coast's Palm Harbor Country Club … As a senior, Betters finished tied for fifth in the local circuit in scoring with teammate Kylie Van Meter with a 48.9 average … In three regional tournaments Betters went from an 18-hole 116 (2010), to a 102 (2011), to a 94 (2012).

QUOTES: "This was Emma's best-ever season; she was strong all year. I'm not sure if she was inspired by Megan (Berube), but her athleticism seemed to come through match after match. … When Megan was having an off day, Emma seemed to always step up against the other team's 'A' players. … We're definitely going to miss her attitude. She's a very self-motivated person. If she wasn't playing golf, she'd rush home after golf practice to her piano lessons. And of course, she's a fine goalkeeper. When she played, she took things very seriously."

- Springstead head coach Kathleen Long

Eugenia "Italy" Urso

Hernando – Junior

COMMENTS: Urso is a first-year varsity linkster. She's a foreign exchange student from Italy … Served as the Lady Leopards' number one. Urso completed the season with a team-best 44.6 scoring average, ranking fourth overall in the county … Her seasonal best included a nine-hole 41 in a tri-match sweep against Nature Coast and Weeki Wachee … In the postseason, Urso paced the Lady Leopards with a nine-hole 43 in the Hernando County Championship at The Heather, followed by an 18-hole 88 in the Class 1A, District 8 Tournament at Rivard and a 18-hole 93 in the Class 1A, Region III Meet at the Eustis' Black Bear Golf Club.

QUOTES: "Italy had a wonderful personality and she couldn't have fit in any better with our girls. … Even though she missed a few matches (until her eligibility was cleared) she worked as hard or harder to improve. Give her props, she's not from here and had never played on these types of Florida golf courses, but she did a tremendous job of adapting. … What I'll miss most is not having that true number one player like everyone else. I wish she could come back. She played right there alongside some of the best players in our area."

- Hernando head coach Casey Ellis   

Player of the Year

Megan Berube

Springstead – Senior

COMMENTS: Four-year varsity letterman … Rare four-time All- County selection … Even more uncommon, Berube is a four-time Player of the Year – matching the impact produced by Central's Jeanette McDonald's in Hernando County tennis from 2004-2007 … After a distinguished career at Challenger K-8, where the Navigators never lost a regular-season match in the three seasons she played, the Berube-led Lady Eagles posted a combined 38-3 (93 percent) won-lost mark. In four prep seasons of competition versus county teams, Berube's squad went 36-0 – not dropping a dual meet to any opponent across its last three campaigns (30-0) … Berube and her teammates also etched four straight Hernando County championships … In the process, Berube earned medalist honors in that tournament four times … In the state series, she reached regionals a school record of four times. She also is the only Hernando County female golfer to reach states since the millennium. In her lone state appearance, Berube placed 14th out of 96 players as a sophomore in 2010 … She finished as district runner-up as a freshman and then earned back-to-back district individual titles as a sophomore and junior … She averaged 38.1 strokes per nine holes for her prep career – leading the county in scoring four times … She recently inked a national letter of intent to play Division I golf beginning next fall at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind.

QUOTES: "She's a great competitive player. Megan understood that golf is her avenue for success. Our team showcased her talents. … I can easily say everyone on our team is extremely proud of Megan's individual accomplishments. Megan's success doesn't happen without working with each of our girls. Each of our players was very patient with each other. No one here was out to 'get' anyone. … I think Megan's efforts bring value to the county. A rising tide lifts all boats. She helped lift everyone here; that makes everyone so proud."

- Springstead head coach Kathleen Long      

"What I've noticed is great players don't take days off. Even if Springstead's team wasn't practicing, I'd saw Megan practicing on her own at Silverthorn so many times, I thought she was on our team. … To her, golf is a process. To have the reward she sought, she needed to put in her time and she definitely has. … Golf isn't just about picking up a club during the season. She plays year-round and especially during the summer. It's not like she hasn't earned Player of the Year or a D-I scholarship. No one is handing anything to her, she's earned this."

- Nature Coast head coach Cheryl Paradis

"Some of her strengths include her knowledge of the game and her sense of calm. She's very confident in a pleasant way."

-  Weeki Wachee head coach Linda Rogers

"Megan is a very well-rounded person. Getting a D-I golfer from Hernando County means so much to not only Megan, but to the coaches, parents and other girls from the area. It's huge to have someone from our backyard go D-I. … Give Megan props, I see a great kid who works hard in everything she does, from the theater to the golf course. I know she interacts with all the girls and she's always been very polite and is a positive influence. To me, she's earned all the accolades coming to her."

-  Hernando head coach Casey Ellis

Coach of the Year

Kathleen Long    

Springstead – 8th Year

COMMENTS: A five-time Coach of the Year selection … Long, an art teacher at Springstead, was the unanimous pick … Long's team completed its third straight unbeaten season (7-0). Going into next fall, Springstead has reeled off 30 straight dual-meet victories … Springstead's last regular-season setback was on Sept. 30, 2009 at World Woods when Lecanto won, 218-227.

QUOTES: "If I'm Coach of the Year it's because of our girls, not the other way around. These girls were very dedicated. They created a sense of camaraderie – a spirit de corps – like with the Marines. All the girls were part of a total group effort. They worked conscientiously and it was always as a team. … What I liked most was they weren't out there to promote themselves. To me, this group of girls is irreplaceable. I think each of our girls will go on to their own Indiana State. You just don't find kids with this kind of spirit and talent very often. … I don't know if I'll be back. If this would be my last team, it would be so satisfying and extremely difficult to top this. This group gave 100 percent and symbolized the giving, the caring and the effort it takes to win. This group never complained and there was no drama here. I was fortunate to have some nice girls, who were all good students, and just built on that foundation. … This has truly been a wonderful experience."

- Long 

"Kathleen's (coaching) style is different than a lot of others; she's so laid back. I'd say she provides opportunities for her players. She's not a forcible-type person. She's definitely not a yeller or a screamer. … What I admire is she's always thinking of what's best for the girls. When you have that kind of humility, the girls have room for improvement. She's not demanding that they do this or that. … Kathleen gives the girls room to play and make mistakes or correct mistakes. Under her guidance, her kids have stepped up and pushed the envelope of success."

- Nature Coast head coach Cheryl Paradis

"She definitely has her players' interests at heart. She provides great direction without micromanaging."

- Weeki Wachee head coach Linda Rogers

"I love Kathleen to death. Hands down, she's so much fun to talk to. I get a kick out of her approach. … I think her secret to success is the majority of her kids play just one sport – golf. My kids, for instance, play multiple sports. There's an inherent advantage for Springstead that their kids are mostly golfers – that's what they concentrate in."

-  Hernando head coach Casey Ellis

"I really don't know where she gets her kids, but she has a tremendous way of molding them into a team. She truly loves those kids and turns them into golfers. On whether or not she's not coming back, I'll believe it when I see it. I know her grandchildren mean a lot but I think it's very difficult for her to leave this group of kids."

-  Central head coach Vicki Weaver

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