Wildcats are ‘the real deal’

From the left, Nina Kratt,  Katie Pill,  Ellie Gieselman,  Ella Flores,  Keira Billis, Gabi Wait  and Coach Gretchen Gabler. Not pictured Lexie Yankee and Halena Knight. Photo courtesy of Coach Gabler.

Return 7 to the links

By Don Rush

Fall sports started early for Michigan high schoolers, including the Oxford girls golf team.

The Wildcats’ first practice was August 7 at Metamora Golf and Country Club, bright and early at 7 in the morning. The successful 2022 varsity team graduated one senior, Captain Olivia Clark, stepping in to fill that void is Junior Nina Kratt.

According to Coach Gretchen Gabler, the ‘Cats will return seven members on the team, including six seniors and sophomore Katie Pill.

These seniors, Keira Billis, Ella Flores, Ellie Gieselman, Halena Knight, Gabi Wait and Lexie Yankee are a phenomenal group of young women,” Gabler said. “They have set a goal to qualify for states and decided to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. Most days you can find them on local courses, on the range or playing in summer tournaments rain or shine.”

According to Gabler, the extra work these Wildcats did in the off season was apparent at the 2023 Lapeer Tune Up, last week. The monsoon-like rains made play slow but Oxford prevailed. The Wildcats finished with a 347. Billis was the tournament medalist with her 83. Gieselman and Pill tied with 83 and finished 3rd overall. Wait carded a 92 and Nina Kratt had 93 which placed them 6th and 7th overall. The Wildcats beat their 2nd place squad by 25 points.

The Oxford Wildcats opened league play against Birmingham Groves at Metamora Golf and Country Club last Thursday.

It was a delightful late summer morning with a light breeze as the Wildcats defeated Groves, 172-224. Billis started the match with a birdie on Hole 10 and continued her solid play to finish with a 41. Gieselman had a 42, Pill 43, Wait had a 46. Kratt birdied on #12 and finished with a 47.

This team is the kind of team I dreamed of coaching,” Gabler said after. “They believe that victories are earned in practice. This team is the real deal.”

Last season the Wildcats won the Oakland County tournament and the Oakland Activities Association Girls Golf Sportsmanship Award. Gabler was presented with the D1 Regional Coach of the Year award.

The girls want to win, I was concerned about the pressure they were feeling to move to the state finals and they told me, ‘Coach, no pressure, no diamond.’”

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The Wildcats played in a tournament at Dunham Hills last Friday, The Greater Genesee County on Monday, the OAA #2 on Tuesday and are slated to play Stoney Creek at Metamora today and a tournament at Twin Lakes tomorrow.


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