‘Cats end ‘magical’ season on the links

Oxford High School’s varsity girls golf team ended the season two weeks ago. Pictured from the left are Nina Kratt, Keira Billis, Katie Pill, Captain Ellie Gieselman, Captain Olivia Clark and Gabi Wait. Photo courtesy of Coach Gabler

By Don Rush

October 5 was a day filled with excitement for Oxford High School’s varsity girls golf team. They matched up with Clarkston and Lake Orion and Wildcat Captain Ellie Gieselman finished the day with an 82 and was in a two-golfer playoff to qualify for states as an individual.

It’s a very exciting situation, all the golfers, coaches and spectators follow the girls as they play until one of them wins,” Oxford Coach Gretchen Gabler said. “Ellie lost the playoff but won the devotion of her team as she represented our town so well. I’m so proud of her.”

This season four Wildcats were named 1st team All League, Keira Billis, Gieselman, Gabl Wait and Olivia Clark. They were also named to the All State Academic team. Coach Gabler said she was also proud that the team was voted the Oakland Athletic Association White’s “Sportsmanship Team of the Year.”

It means we are doing things right here in Oxford,” Gabler said. Gabler was also voted Regional Coach of the Year. “I’m very honored,” she said. “In this region there are 11 other amazing coaches. I strive to be an advocate for my girls, our school, Oxford and girls golf. Magical is the word I have been using to describe this season. I knew we would have a good season with the talented athletes returning, I didn’t know it would be great and it was.”

Oxford finished the season 4-2 in league play and 6-2 overall,

Girls Golf season in Michigan starts in early August and the Oxford Wildcats began with early morning practices at Metamora Golf and Country Club. “We are so lucky to call Metamora our home course, it is challenging and that has helped the girls develop skills to take to other courses,” Gabler said.

The Wildcats’ first duel meet was against North Farmington at Glen Oaks Golf course. The team set a new 9-hole school record of 174 and set the tone for the rest of the season.  Junior Captain Gieselman led the Wildcats with a 41. Junior Billis and Freshman Katie Pill both carded 42 and Junior Wait had a 49. Later that week the team was invited to play in the Greater Genesee County tournament at the historic Flint Elks Club. The team tied with Grand Blanc for 2nd place with 367, but won the 5th man tie breaker.

Our whole team is good, we don’t have just one superstar, we are all superstars,” Wait said, adding, “We accomplished a lot this year as a team this year. Breaking records and creating a strong team bond. I’m ready for next year and to bring even more heat.”

In late August the Wildcats’ day at the D2 Oakland County tournament was memorable, Gabler said. Oxford set a new school 18 hole record, carding a 329 and won the county championship.  Billis was the 1st place co-medalist with her 76. Freshman standout Pill finished the day with an 81, Gieselman had 83, and Senior Captain Olivia Clark had her personal best, 89.

On Sept. 7, the ‘Cats set another 9-hole school record against Farmington at Farmington Hills Golf Club. Oxford carded a 170. Billis, Pill and Gieselman all had 42 and Clark scored a 44.” 

I loved my first season,” Pills said. “It was so fun getting to know everyone. At first I was nervous because I was the only freshman but everyone was so nice. I’m excited for next year because we have a very good chance to qualify for states.”

“Regionals were so much fun. Even though we didn’t end up qualifying for states, the season was still a great one. I’m so thankful that I decided to play golf. I’m sad to leave but I know that there’s so much success in the future for Oxford Girls Golf. I’m excited to come watch next year when we make it to states,” Clark said.

This season was important for all of us. We played for more than ourselves. We played for our town, We played for our 4 fallen friends. And we will be back better than ever next year,” Billis said.




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