Athlete(s) of the Week: May River girls golf team eager to defend state championship

Sports

BLUFFTON, S.c. (WSAV) – In what feels like a theme with this particular high school, the May River girls golf team experienced success incredibly early in the program’s existence.

Nearly one year after capturing the 2020 SCHSL 4A girls golf state championship, the Sharks won yet another region championship last week. This week, the team followed up that performance with a first-place finish at the SCHSL Lower State Championship — proving they may not just be one of the best teams in the Lowcountry, but also one of the best teams in the entire state.

“We always take pride in everything that we do,” senior star Kylie Bowes said. “We have a really dedicated team and put in the work. A lot of what you see is the work that we give out.”

Despite all the accolades, you won’t see the Sharks celebrating just yet. The team still has one more piece of hardware they’d like to earn and put up in the school’s trophy case.

“I am very excited to play in the state championship this year,” freshman Claire Green explained. “It’s a little overwhelming. I was the one on the team asking ‘are we sure we are going to make it?’ and my team said ‘yea’, so it’s really exciting that we can compete and really cool that I can be a part of the team and try to get it the second year in a row.”

As if May River wasn’t already a frontrunner to win the 4A state championship, this year’s event will take place at the Crescent Pointe Golf Club, the team’s home course.

“It definitely makes me feel more comfortable and I kind of feel like we are in charge here,” sophomore Hailey Aipperspach said. “We know the course well, we’ve played it a lot, know what shots to hit, and have that advantage over [opponents] already.”

Several of the girls on this squad lifted the state championship trophy last year. Ava Cunningham is not one of them. This will be a brand-new experience for the seventh grader, whoqualified through SCHSL guidelines to play on varsity , but she knows the team will have her back in crunch time.

“Everyone has been very nice to me, more than I expected,” Cunningham said. “I was kind of nervous because everyone is older, but they’ve treated me like they treat each other.”

This ‘culture of kindness’ that head coach Kelly Minasi preaches is practiced by Bowes, the Region 7-4A Golfer of the Year.

“Watching Kylie shoot the numbers that she’s shooting but, more importantly, she’s such a leader and mentor for the team,” Minasi added. “It would be really exciting to send her off with two [state titles] up to Marshall to go play Division I golf.”

Golf greatness runs in the Bowes’ family appears. Sydney Bowes, Kylie’s sister, was the senior leader on this team for the 2020 state championship run and won the same region Golfer of the Year award that Kylie currently holds.

“Last year, I was able to get the win with my sister along my side,” Bowes added. That’s always something we tried to do together and these girls are like my family — I really want to do it again with them.”

The SCHSL 4A girls golf state championships will be held Monday, October 25th and Tuesday, October 26th at the Crescent Pointe Golf Club in Bluffton, South Carolina.

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