Scottsbluff girls golf team loaded for run at state title

Scottsbluff's JaLee Pilkington tees off during a golf tournament last season. Pilkington transferred to Scottsbluff from Bayard for her senior year.

With an amazing seven straight top-three finishes at the state tournament, including five state championships, nobody has enjoyed more golfing success at the Class B level in Nebraska over the last 10 years than the Scottsbluff High School girls golf team.

For anyone thinking that might possibly be coming to an end this fall, you better think again.

With four returning golfers back from last season’s team that finished third at state, along with the addition of a state-medalist transfer, the Bearcats are again right at the top of the list of favorites to capture another championship trophy in October.

“I can tell right now that they have pretty high expectations,” said Scottsbluff coach Mike Klein of this year’s squad. “They’ve got a lot of experience and they’ve put in a lot of work.”

Back to lead the Bearcats’ charge as experienced veterans are senior Kim Moore, senior Megan Pilkington and junior Jordan York.

Moore, who’s in her third year on varsity, medaled at last year’s state tournament finishing in a tie for 11th. Pilkington, who was a member of Scottsbluff’s last state title-winning team as a freshman in 2010, just missed a medal last year finishing in a tie for 17th. York, who’s in her second year on varsity, finished in a tie for 19th in her state-tournament debut last season.

Also returning from last year’s team is sophomore Hannah Holloway. Holloway moved up to the varsity level in the early stages of last season’s campaign and ended up in a tie for 58th at state.

If that experienced and talented group isn’t impressive enough, the Bearcats received another boost when JaLee Pilkington transferred from Bayard to Scottsbluff for her senior year. Pilkington, who began golfing on varsity as a freshman, medaled at last year’s Class C state tournament finishing in a tie for 11th.

“We basically have four players who have broken 80 at some point in time during a tournament,” Klein said. “The whole thing is going to come down to consistency. When they’re all playing well, they’re probably a team that’s going to be under 320.”

Klein said the addition of JaLee Pilkington adds to the Bearcats’ depth of talent. In fact, this year’s squad has the possibilities to be the deepest team Klein has coached in now his 11th season as Scottsbluff’s coach.

“It gives us more depth,” Klein said. “She gives us a chance to really low our team score. Her golf game is good and she’s been playing pretty well in practice. Sometimes she has a tendency to lose her golf swing throughout the year, but hopefully I can help her with that.”

Klein also believes this might be one of Scottsbluff’s most balanced teams. From one through five, the Bearcats have the potential to shoot low and consistently lower their scores throughout the season.

“They’re all so close together,” he said. “It will surprise me if one of them really separates from the rest of the group. We should be pretty balanced.”

For the third straight year, Klein will be joined on the coaching staff by assistant coach Julia Baucum. Baucum was a standout golfer for the Bearcats during her prep career and was a member of the 2003 state-championship team.

The Bearcats are scheduled to open their season next Friday by hosting a quadrangular at Riverview Golf Course in Scottsbluff. Bridgeport will be joining Scottsbluff, but Klein said he’s still looking for two other teams to fill out the four-team field. Interested coaches can contact Klein at 308-641-2148.

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