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Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Plant City High Girls Golfers Are On Course For Success

PLANT CITY - The present is pretty outstanding for the Plant City High girls golf team, but the future bodes extremely well. Plant City, off to an 8-2 start, has four freshmen contributing to that success. "I can't even tell you how excited I am," Raider head coach Meg Cimino said. "This is what I've been waiting for." Cimino, who was the last Raider girl golfer to make the state tournament, is talking about this group of freshmen eventually giving the school a return trip.
Belinda George and Kelsey Jensen, both freshmen, have consistently been in the top three of Raider scorers, behind top returner and senior Jordan Joyner. Two more freshmen, Joyner's sister Savannah and Shelby Johnson, have shown great promise. Plant City also features junior Carrie Pierce, a first-year golfer, and returning sophomore Carli Copeland. Cimino isn't the only person predicting great things for the future. George is also pretty confident about the team's outlook. "They hear me tell them about my playing days, and playing for Auburn, and George says 'OK , coach, we're going to go to state,' and I love that," Cimino said." Instantly, when I first met her, I could tell Belinda had a competitive spark in her. Actually reminded me of myself a little bit." George also has the ability to hit the ball very far. George and most of the rest of the team need to work on improving their short game, Cimino said. "If they could putt and chip a bit better we'd be going to state this year," Cimino said. The goal for this season, realistically, is to try to get at least one Raider to advance past the district tournament. Cimino said the district is too strong to expect Plant City's team score to be one of the top two, but the top two individuals not already on a qualifying team advance as well. Jordan Joyner stands the best chance, but George and Jensen also could be in the running. All of the Raider freshmen came in with golf experience, with Jensen having the most. Johnson golfs, but "playing is kind of new to her, so it's going to be a learning year" Cimino said. Johnson is an outstanding student and is concentrating on having strong grades. The newest to golf of the freshmen is Savannah Joyner. "She's a former swimmer, and she's not going back to swimming if I have anything to do with it," Cimino said. "I want to support the swim team, don't get me wrong, but ... I've got her now." Most of the Raiders' victories have been by big margins, but Plant City edged Bloomingdale by one stroke. Next up for the Raiders is a tough one against Durant. That match will be played at the Raiders' home course for this season, Buckhorn Golf Club in Brandon.

Reporter Darek Sharp can be reached at [email protected]

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