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#PrepTalkPreview: Girls golf – Medina's Green goes from champion to trail blazer

2016 team champions: Clarence (ECIC); Sacred Heart (Monsignor Martin).

2016-17 All-Section VI team underclassmen: Melanie Green-9 (Medina, medalist), Elena Lopez-11 (Clarence), Amanda Gaffney-11 (Williamsville East), Brenna Callahan-10 (Clarence), Abbie Stellrecht-8* (Williamsville East), Jersey Phillips-9 (Depew), Sarah Pilliteri-10 (Jamestown).

* - Indicates qualifier who did not participate in state tournament due to conflict.

2016-17 state Catholic tournament participant underclassmen: Emily Kase-10 (Sacred Heart), Isabela Vasquez-11 (Nardin).

Green machine: Melanie Green was more than a one girl team last season for Medina. She was also a force. The then freshman captured the Section VI championship, playing the final four holes at 2-under-par en route to a 76 to prevent defending champion Alexis Kim of Clarence from capping her senior season with another title. Green followed that by placing third at states with rounds of 70 and 75.

Green who earned medalist in each match and tournament except states last year winds up being a trend setter, too. Because of her individual success, several other schools who have boys teams in the Niagara-Orleans League decided to add girls ones to give their females a chance to compete for Section VI and state tournament glory the way Green did last year.

"She's only a freshman," said Newfane coach and athletic director Doug Ames, of Green's success. "It gave (us) the idea to give girls a shot".

Newfane, Wilson and Roy-Hart plan to provide teams for their girls. Scoring format for matches still needs to be determined by the league's coaches.

For Newfane, adding a girls team means the Panthers lose their second best golfer from the boys team in senior Paige Emborsky. She's a bogey golfer last season, according to Ames, and has been a starter since eighth grade. Other girls on the team include senior Lauren Seymour and eighth-grader Elizabeth Plotner.

More Green: Green followed her success against scholastic competition by experiencing success on the local and state junior circuit over the summer. She won a tournament at Onondaga Golf and Country Club with a 76 – a round in which she made a hole-in-one. She also took fifth place at the state junior championships at Seven Oaks Golf Club in Hamilton.

Chasing the Red Devils: Will this be the year Williamsville East does something it hasn’t' done – defeat Clarence.

The Flames will try to do just that with senior Amanda Gaffney leading the charge. She's been on the team since eighth-grade and averaged 41 last year. She's one of three who qualified for the state tournament from Williamsville East. Teammate Carly Riter is a freshman and returnee for coach Alyssa Klenk's crew. The Flames went 8-2 last year with their only losses to Clarence.

Catholics: Sacred Heart has captured the Monsignor Martin Association championship each of the last five seasons without losing a match. Emily Kase returns for the Sharks, coming off a third-place finish at the All-Catholics. Junior Gia Bolognese and Rebecca Worling are returning starters, while freshman Eliza Podlas has shown some promise, according to coach Ken McKinnon.

Nardin placed second last year and looks to make a push for the top spot as senior Isabela Vasquez leads the charge after reaching the state tournament. Sophomore Hayley Mahoney and senior Emma Lalley both earned All-Catholic honors.

Split season: All but six of the 24 golf teams in Section VI will be in action in the fall. The schools that compete in the spring are Dunkirk, Ellicottville, Fredonia, Jamestown, Olean and Southwestern.

Championship time: All-Catholic Tournament, TBA; Section VI Tournament, May 23 at Gowanda Country Club. New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association Tournament, June 1-2 at Bethpage State Park Yellow Course. Federation Tournament, TBA.

Who's going to be Prep Talk Player of the Year? Green, last year's winner, is the clubhouse favorite. Other contenders include Lopez, Gaffney and Callahan.

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