There’s a new face on the Howard County girls golf scene, and she’s wasting little time making a name for herself.
Jacqueline Cherry, a freshman at Howard, fired her second straight round of 20 or more points on Tuesday afternoon at Hobbit’s Glen. And this most recent performance, against defending county champion Marriotts Ridge, helped the Lions make a statement as a team as well.
Howard outlasted the Mustangs, 32-30, behind Cherry’s 20 points to improve to 2-0 on the season and hand the Marriotts Ridge program a loss for only the second time in the last 46 matches.
“Marriotts Ridge is historically one of the county’s best girls programs that year in and year out always plays very well, so for our young group of girls to pull together like they did today and top them is just incredible,” said Howard coach Joshua McGoun. “I can tell they are on cloud 9 right now and they deserved it today. They handled the stress really well considering they haven’t been in many of these situations before.”
While Marriotts Ridge has won three of the last four county titles and compiled a 43-1 record over that four-year time span, Howard’s girls have never won more than six matches in a single season in program history.
This year, though, with Cherry coming on board there is a different feel.
She fired 23 points in her debut last Thursday in a 42-25 victory over Long Reach and then made pars on three of her last four holes on Tuesday against Marriotts Ridge to help her team earn a come-from-behind victory.
“It’s been a great start and it’s not just me … Harper (Lurie) and Alex (Abrams) are each putting up points too which helps a lot,” Cherry said. “I’m just trying to do my part and I’ve been playing pretty good so far. I definitely feel like we can win a lot of matches this year.”
In the Marriotts Ridge match, Lurie — a sophomore — and Abrams — a freshman — scored a combined 13 points. Lurie (7 points) came up with a big point on the final hole, while Abrams’ day was highlighted by a par on the fifth hole.
Cherry had a slow start to her round, sitting at just nine points through five holes. But she regrouped to finish strong.
“I try to think of every shot separately and today I was aiming for pars, especially after that rocky start,” Cherry said.
Marriotts Ridge, which graduated its top four players from last year’s squad that went undefeated during the regular season, was led by Katelyn MacIlvain’s 14 points in the loss. Erica Chun (7 points), Meghan Quinn (6) and Audrey Illig (3) rounded out the team’s scoring.
The Mustangs, which beat Hammond to open the season, fall to 1-1 on the year.
Howard, meanwhile, finds itself in an early tie atop the county and McGoun says the sky is the limit for this group.
“We saw what we did against Long Reach with 42 points and I think all of a sudden the light bulb went off and they realized we had the potential for something here,” McGoun said. “I think that gave us the confidence to believe we could win a match like this. And now, after today, I think that confidence is even higher.”
Howard 33, Marriotts Ridge 30
Ho (2-0): Cherry 20, Lurie 7, Abrams 6.
MR (1-1): MacIlvain 14, Chun 7, Quinn 6, Illig 3.
Centennial 43, Atholton 40
C (1-0): Wojtanowski 13, Sterenberg 12, Kuan 11, Trojillo 7.
A (0-1-1): Petersen 24, Fields 8, Anderson 8.
River Hill 35, Oakland Mills 3
RH (2-0): Hayward 16, Green 12, Bello 6, Buchaine 1.
OM (0-1): Claxton 3.
Long Reach 31, Reservoir 24
LR (1-1): Williams 13, Reboullet 9, Friend 5, Appler 4.
Re (0-2): Caporaletti 21, Trivedi 2, Adipudi 1.
Glenelg 20, Hammond 1
G (1-1): Davis 8, Malik 5, Erskine 4, Mistichelli 3.
Ha (0-2): Brown 1.