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Northside Christian Lady Mustangs
Congratulations to this month’s Joto’s top team, the Northside Christian Lady Mustangs, a golf team that for the past 12 years has been “building a tradition one swing at a time,” says Head Coach DJ Jackson.
The Lady Mustangs’ proud golf tradition began in 2001 when Coach Jackson founded the program. The Lady Mustangs have quickly established a tradition of excellence. They have made 10 straight trips to the FHSAA State Finals (the longest streak of any golf team in the Bay area), winning the state title in 2004 and finishing as runner-up in 2009 and 2010. Two former players (AJ Newell and Danielle Jackson) have been named St. Petersburg Times Player of the Year. Nine former Lady Mustangs have signed golf scholarships to play at the college level, and two former Northside players (Danielle Jackson and Dakoda Dowd) have played in the LPGA.
This year’s Lady Mustangs are carrying on the tradition of excellent golf, with a current record of 12-1 and a goal to be the 11th Lady Mustangs team in a row to make it to the State Finals. Winning a state championship may seem like a lofty goal for such a young team. (The oldest players on this varsity team are in 9th grade.) However, age is not a factor, says Coach Jackson; and this young team has a depth of talent that can rival some of the top teams in the state.
Team captain Ryanne Jackson, a 9th grader and 4-year veteran of the team, was named to the St. Petersburg Times All-County 2nd team last year and will be vying for 1st team recognition this year.
Also hoping for 1st team All-County recognition are returning 9th grader Sarah Noto and 8th grader Ashley Zagers, who was named to the All-County 2nd team last year and carries a current 9-hole average of 37.7.
9th grader Alison Armstrong also has high hopes for the season. With an average of 38.3, she has a good chance to become the 3rd Lady Mustang to be named the St. Petersburg Times Player of Year.
Three 7th graders round out this young team: Alyssa Lamoureux, a talented young player with an average of 38.6; Shoshanna Van Loan, a returning player who continues to show improvement and the willingness to work hard; and Sydney York, who has shown much promise during her first year as a golf player.
Head coach DJ Jackson, who also coaches girls’ basketball at Northside, is a graduate of LaGrange College. As a college student, he lettered not only in basketball and golf, but also in baseball. He is assisted by Coach Morgan Jackson, a 2008 graduate of NCS, a member of the 2004 NCS state championship team, and a 4-year veteran of the Jacksonville University golf team.
The individual Lady Mustangs have excellent talent, but their team play is outstanding as well. As the coach of so many talented and competitive athletes, Coach Jackson’s biggest challenge is “to get everyone believing and pulling for each other. The team environment is so important in girls sports.” The team is well balanced, with several players who can consistently shoot in the 30’s to low 40’s. Twice this season, the Lady Mustangs have had a low team score of 150 at their home course, Bardmoor Golf Course in Largo , with three players shooting under 40 in each of those 9-hole matches.
Later this month, the Lady Mustangs will be entering the district tournament in hopes of earning another trip to the State Finals. Their biggest challenge, says Coach Jackson, will be “getting everyone playing their best golf at the end of season. We will have to play our best to beat Academy of Holy Names at Regional Tournament this year and compete for a State Title at Mission Inn.”
Good luck to the Lady Mustangs as they endeavor to keep the tradition of excellence alive – one swing at a time.
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