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Cooper girls begin golf season with everyone back from last year’s regional championship team

By Matthew Dietz
NKyTribune sports reporter

When the Cooper girls golf team won the Region 7 tournament last fall, it was a notable accomplishment for a high school that had never claimed a region championship in that sport. The fact that eighth-grader Reagan Ramage became only the second region medalist in team history made it even more special.

Despite her young age, Ramage winning the region tournament and then finishing in a tie for 21st place at the state tournament did not come as a surprise to Cooper coach Joe Deters.

As an eighth-grader, Cooper golfer Reagan Ramage shot the lowest score in the Region 7 girls tournament last season. (File photo by Bob Jackson)

“I knew that she was certainly good enough to do that,” Deters said. “We see the teams that we’re competing against in the region. We know them pretty well from playing other tournaments during the season, so it didn’t surprise me at all that she won.”

Ramage begins her third season of high school golf on Friday. She made the team as a seventh-grader and qualified for the 2019 state tournament as an individual.

“She was good enough to do that as a seventh-grader and we didn’t have a tremendous amount of depth at the time, so that kind of put her in the mix right away,” Deters said. “But she really showed a great deal of maturity in her game early on.”

That success carried into last season when Ramage led a young Cooper team that included freshmen Kendall Brissey and Eva Maley and sophomore Skylar Anderson to an impressive victory in the region tournament.

Those golfers shot the four lowest scores to win the tournament by a whopping 38 strokes. Ramage topped the list with a 78, followed by Brissey (82), Maley (83) and Anderson (84) for a 327 team total.

The team’s fifth golfer, Jalena Hardcorn, is also returning this season, meaning expectations are high for Deters and the defending champs.

“This group of girls, they go out and they play a lot, and they work really hard on their game,” Deters said. “They understand the value in that and they have understood that for a long time, so they have played a lot. They have gotten better and better each year, and that was really what led to the success last year.”

Cooper has the top five golfers back from last year’s region championship team, left to right, Reagan Ramage, Eva Maley, Skylar Anderson, Kendall Brissey and Jalena Hardcorn. (Photo provided)

During the offseason this summer, the Cooper girls have been very active at developing their skills on the course. Some of them traveled as far away as Arizona and California to play in youth amateur tournaments.

“They play a full summer schedule and that’s huge when you start (the high school season) because going out and playing 18-hole tournaments, it gets to be a long day, but these girls have done it so many times that they’re very used to it,” Deters said. “And that’s able to get them through days or stretches during a tournament where they might run into trouble, but they’re able to work through that.”

For Deters, state tournament appearances did not stop when golf season ended last October. He also coached the Cooper girls bowling team that won the school’s first state team championship in March, just a year after finishing as state runner-up.

“What I always say is it’s great to coach really talented teams,” he said. “Obviously, it’s special when you get to coach teams like I have been fortunate enough to coach the last few years.”

With the 2021 high school golf season beginning Friday, Deters will be coaching another talented, hard-working team with championship potential.

“We think we should win the region,” he said. “But there’s other teams out there that might have something to say about that, so we’re not taking anything for granted.”

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