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Sims, Eckert pack solid one-two punch for Oakville girls' golf team this season


August 31, 2005 - By STEPHEN GLOVER

For the Call

The Oakville Senior High School girls' golf team boasts a dynamic duo that foes must contend with — seniors Jenna Sims and Lauren Eckert.

Both golfers qualified for the state championships last season and although neither medaled, the tandem provides a solid one-two punch for the Tigers during dual and tournament competition.

Oakville head coach Cindy Maulin has high expectations of both seniors for the 2005 season.

"I expect that their focus is going to be really sound because once you have the experience of competing at the state level, you know what it takes," Maulin told the Call. "I think that in itself will give them some motivation to reach those goals that they have set for themselves this year."

At the state championships last season at the Silo Ridge Golf and Country Club in Bolivar, Eckert was involved in a six-way tie for 61st place. She shot a 101 the first day of play and a 97 the next day for a combined score of 198.

Though nervous at first, Eckert said she settled down once she got out onto the course.

"It was really nerve wracking," Eckert told the Call. "I didn't know what to expect, but once I got out on the course it was just like a regular match."

Eckert hopes that working on her short game, in particular chipping, will help her improve on last season's performance.

"I'd like to do better at state this year," Eckert said. "That's one of my main goals."

Eckert, the youngest of Denise and Ron Eckert's three children, is on the honor roll at Oakville Senior High and currently boasts a 3.0 grade-point average.

But the most impressive fact about Eckert is that she's only been playing golf since her freshman year when her friend and current teammate Ashley Kinder convinced her to join the golf team.

"My friend Ashley made me join the team," Eckert said. "I really didn't want to, but she made me."

Sims, on the other hand, has been playing golf since she was 10 years old and used to drive the golf cart as she watched her mother, Janice, play. Her younger sister Jamie is a sophomore at Oakville and also is a member of the golf team. Sims also has another younger sister, Katelyn, an eighth-grader.

Sims tied for 97th place at the state championships last season after shooting a 109 in the first round before coming back with a 107 on the second day for a combined score of 216.

Sims is not happy with her performance last year at the state championships and is determined to improve her score in 2005.

"My goal is to go back to state and finish better than 97th." Sims told the Call. "It was scary at first, but you just got to go up there and not even care and just go with the flow."

Sims also is on the honor roll at Oakville Senior High and currently is carrying a lofty 3.8 grade-point average. She plans on majoring in nursing at the University of Missouri at Columbia and eventually be-come a nurse practitioner upon graduation from Oakville in June.

"I'm going to be a nurse practitioner, but I'm thinking that I'm going to go to nursing school at Mizzou and then come back here and go for two more years of school at SLU (St. Louis University).

One thing that the Tiger's head coach likes to see from Eckert and Sims is the fact that they're team leaders, and hopes their play and leadership on the course will trickle down to the underclassmen on the team.

"I expect both of those girls to be team leaders and they," Maulin said. "They've already shown in the short week and a half that they're going to be instrumental in leading this team forward."

The Tigers opened the 2005 season Tues-day — after the Call went to press — at Quail Creek against Marquette in a Subur-ban West Conference meeting between the two schools.

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