MC's Thomas, Skibinski target another state trip
Golf, more than any other sport, is able to maintain the social distancing aspect of the COVID-19 era.
It returned first at the professional level and, as the prep sports schedule dictates, it will do the same at the high school level, on Aug. 3.
The question, of course, is, will it?
"I am hoping that conditions allow us to play," Michigan City girls golf coach Drew White said. "I have no doubt we can facilitate golf safely, but I know that we’re just one part of the larger scheme of things. We’re going to make sure that they’re ready to play when we’re scheduled to play. That’s all we can do."
On the heels of its third consecutive regional berth and sending two players to the state finals for the first time in program history, the Wolves are hoping as much as anyone to have a season. Senior Lia Thomas is a two-time state qualifier and was joined at Prairie View in Carmel last season by junior Taylor Skibinski.
"Lia and Taylor are the best 1-2 punch of any team in this area," White said. "Perhaps one of the challenges they will face this season is that the secret is out. What I think makes them so special is that they’ve demonstrated the ability to rise to the occasion in high leverage situations. Combine that with their game and you have elite high school golfers that will play at the next level if they so choose."
Thomas, last year's Duneland Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player and tournament champion, tied for 27th at state after sharing 44th as a sophomore. Skibinski, the La Porte Sectional medalist, tied for 51st at state. She won't split time with soccer this season.
"Regardless of what transpires this season, Lia has cemented her legacy on our program," White said. "I’m hoping and wishing she gets the chance to return to Prairie View one more time. She raised the bar and it will be our challenge to maintain the team success that she was a big part in our attaining.
"I was proud of Taylor’s ability to pull off two sports, but I’m going to be eager to see what affect focusing on golf will have on her game. She had some ankle issues that were also addressed over the offseason and I think that stands to benefit her this season as well. Through two years, she’s more than lived up to the expectations we’ve had for her coming in."
Michigan City graduated No. 3 Sara Poulin, a four-year varsity player. White expects juniors Caroline Kearney and Jayda Peters and sophomore Violet Murphy to complete the lineup.
"Sara Poulin is a big loss to graduation," White said. "She was a steady scorer for us the past few years and that’s tough to replace. Kearney and Peters have the benefit of experience on their side and I’m confident they’ll rise to the challenge. Violet will get where we need her to be as well."
The remainder of the roster includes senior Sarah Jones and three newcomers -- junior Emma Heitmann and freshmen Krystani Quinn and Kaylee Richardson.
Michigan City's Lia Thomas, left, and Taylor Skibinski qualified for the girls golf state finals last season. It was Thomas' second state berth. Both are hoping for a chance at another trip to Prairie View Golf Club in the upcoming season. (Photo courtesy of Drew White)