RUSSELL — The number of female golfers is increasing each year in the Northern Athletic Conference. The trend has affected the Edwards-Knox golf team more than any this season, with nearly half the roster comprised of girls.
Cougars golf coach Jon Hogle wouldn't have it any other way and loves the enthusiasm many of the girls show.
"They want to learn," he said. "The girls really want to play. They play more than some of the boys (in the offseason)."
The NAC doesn't have a formal regular season for girls golf, but each female golfer has the option to play against the boys. This rule forces some teams to turn girls away unless they have the scores to play at the varsity. Hogle has an open-door policy and welcomes any golfer to his team.
"I don't turn kids down," he said. "I've always had at least one girl in my six years as the head coach."
Sophomore Danielle Gollinger and senior Kassie Averill are the top two girls on the Edwards-Knox team. Each are returning members and have grown accustomed to playing with the boys.
"All the guys on the team are nice," Averill said. "They always offer advice."
Hogle does his best, too, to split time between the boys and girls even though the matches focus on the boys.
"I do (help with both), but it's stressful," he said. "I'm obligated to the boys."
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for Hogle was to make Averill, Gollinger and all the girls feel comfortable playing with or against the boys. Gollinger gave a simple explanation as to why she was intimidated at the start of her golfing career.
"They're better than you," she said.
Averill echoed her sentiments, but said their passion for the game overrides any inhibitions either may have.
"It's intimidating most of the time," Averill said. "I just like to have fun (and), I like how it's always challenging. You can never have a perfect game."
The league and the local courses have overwhelming accepted the girls, the coach said.
"All the coaches are true gentleman," Hogle said. "I've never heard a negative comment."
Gollinger and Averill will compete in limited matches against other schools with girl players this season. At the end of the year, the girls that qualify will be able to play in the girls sectionals — an individual-based tournament.
Averill and Gollinger are the two most likely to represent Edwards-Knox in the girls postseason. Courtney Holt is yet another player that may be able to play in the sectionals.
Even if none of the girls make the sectionals, they all know exactly why they play the sport.
"I just like it a lot," Gollinger said.
Hogle keeps it in perspective, too, and knows that once a player's bitten by the golf bug, that love won't soon go away.
"It's not about competition," he said. "It's a lifelong sport."
Patrick and Michael Reilly are the two leading Edwards-Knox players who could lead the Cougars to a few more Division II victories than their 6-6 season a year ago.
NORTHERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE GOLF
Outlook:Potsdam lost five seniors from its undefeated season a year ago and will rely on the veteran leadership of senior Nick Miller. But Massena returns six players who should make an impact and keep it near the top of the Division I. Norwood-Norfolk will likely make some noise at Division II — where matches are in match-play format. Jake Ladouceur and Matt Fiacco return to the Flyers after earning all-NAC nods last season. Norwood-Norfolk coach David Rishe said his goal is to win back-to-back Division II championships.
Canton Golden Bears
2007 record:1-8-1 overall.
Roster:Ben Koser (Fr.); Josh Mousaw (Fr.); Kyle Clark (So.); Carter Cutway (So.); Matt Flynn (So.); Spencer Mallette (So.); Brodie Shurburne (So.); Drew Bostein (Jr.); Kristian Daley (Jr.); Darrn Camp (Sr.); Jon Carver (Sr.); Corina Whiteford (Sr.); Nate Christy (Fr.).
Roster:Brandon Aanderud (Jr.); Shawn Legacy (Sr.); Austin Dunlavey (8th); Chris Leclerc (Sr.); Bryce Cosgrove (Jr.); Chris Lamaree (Sr.); Seth Barney (Fr.); Shawn Seaman (Sr.); Jordan Cosgrove (Fr.); Matthew Robert (Fr.); Tyler Marshall (Sr.); David Robert (Jr.); Brandon LaVoie (Fr.); Mitchell Vanier (Fr.).
Massena Red Raiders
Roster:William Davey (So.); Logsden Lee (Fr.); Colin Lucid (Jr.); Alex Moore (Jr.); Robert Oskineegish (Jr.); Devin Rider (Sr.); Jon Schriver (Jr.); Austin Sharp (Fr.); Matt Sharp (Sr.); Ryan Siddon (Jr.); Matt Supernault (Sr.); Kenneth Taber (Fr.); Justin Tyo (Sr.); Anthony Viskovich (Sr.); Matt Viskovich (Jr.); Tom Ward (So.); Walter Wilmshurst (Fr.); Jacob Witkop (Sr.); Ryan Young (So.).
Ogdensburg Free Academy Blue Devils
Roster:Kayla Anderson (So.); Mike Buscemi; Nicholas Coppola (So.); Joseph Cosmo (Jr.); Zeb Fortune (So.); Steven Garrabrant (Jr.); Jordan Greer (Jr.); Gerard Guimond (Fr.); Serra Guimond (So.); Jacob Herzog (So.); Brent Lalonde (Fr.); Colby LeBoeuf (So.); Jacob McPherson (Sr.); John Shaver (So.); Jonica Tebo (So.); Ryan Borsellino (7th); Kyle Hollister (7th); Alec Manke (7th); Nathan Sarkin (7th).
Roster:Nick Miller (Sr.); Ryan Thompson (Jr.); Grant Sharlow (Jr.); Austin Belleau (So.); Andrew Rorick (So.); Taylor Hazen (So.); Michael Ellis (So.); Ryan Merriman (Fr.); Matthew Merriman (Fr.); Michael Chambers (8th); Cody Compeau (7th); Jose Lizardi (So.).
Roster:Christian Alguire (Jr.); Zachary Amberg (So.); Storm Blackburn (So.); Nathaniel Burgess (So.); Trevor Carr (Jr.); Joshua Girard (Sr.); Tyler Gleason (Fr.); TJ Gore (Fr.); Dustin Lallier (Jr.); Drew Leonard (Jr.); Tyler Mayer (Fr.); Jeremy Phelps (Jr.); Jordan Phelps (Fr.); Brandon Raymo (Jr.); Damin Sawyer (Jr.); Kyle Spilman (Jr.); Nicholas Sterling (Jr.); Samuel Sterling (Fr.): David Todd (Jr.); Kyle Waugh (Fr.); Matthew Weaver (So.); Talan Weekes (Jr.).
Roster:Brad Schuyler (Sr., 1-man); Kreg Jackson (Sr., 2-man); Tazeran Moore (Fr., 3-man); Tyler Thomas (Sr., 4-man); Jordan Pierce (Fr., 4-man); Ryan Kerr (7th, 5-man); Hunter Hathaway (Fr., 6-man); Timothy Dowling (8th, 6-man); Lindsay Johnson (7th, 6-man).
Roster:Kassie Averill (Sr.); Tyler Bleau (So.); Jeremy Bullock (So.); Dylan Davis; Taylor Davis; Ashley Davison (Fr.); Danielle Gollinger (So.); Meghan Hance; Courtney Holt; Diego Lacorte; Jesse Merkley; Joette Peacock; Michael Reilly (So.); Patrick Reilly (Jr.); Amanda Southwell.
Roster:Eric Stewart (7th); Jacob St. Pierre (8th); Jack Tennant (7th); Tyler Otis (8th); Joel Smithers (Jr.); Nolan Geary (7th); Andrew Thompson (So.).
Roster:Mike Burnett (Sr.); Cameryn Armstrong (Fr.); Andrew Bruso (Sr.); Jeff Ibey (Sr.); Joel Hargrave (Jr.); Kyle Bennett (7th); Ryan Akins (So.); Josh Tiernan (8th); George Martin (Sr.); John Martin (Sr.); Bradon Toomey (Sr.); Daniel Vallance (Fr.); Dave LaTulip (Fr.); Dylan Fox (Fr.); John Boula (So); Dean Leverson (8th); Tommy Mayette (8th); David Turri (7th).
Roster:Blake Barkley (Sr.); Lexi Reagan (Sr.); Jake Ladouceur (Jr.); Billy Jackson (Jr.); Bruce Arquitt (Jr.); Chris Thomas (So.); Matt Fiacco (So.); Jesse Williams (So.); Chris Burkett (So.); Pat Dean (So.).
Salmon River Shamrocks
Roster:No information provided.
Tupper Lake Lumberjacks
Roster:Kris Clark (Jr.); Justin Dederick (So.); Scott Declair (So.); Bill Foley (So.); Lyndon Gillis (Jr.); Zach Meade (So.); Taylor Merrihew (Sr.); Austin Shaheen (So.); Brenan Strack (Jr.).