On paper, it seemed disastrous.
The Tallmadge girls golf team finished just 3-8 overall and 0-6 in the Suburban League American Conference last year.
However, it was somewhat of a breakthrough for the Lady Blue Devils.
This is a team that hasn’t won in recent years, so three victories for a program that has been struggling for what seems like eons is quite a major step forward.
Now Tallmadge has another important goal to accomplish. That would be getting a win or two in the always competitive American Conference.
"We were super excited to win some matches," second-year Lady Blue Devils head coach Scott Campbell said. "We were very competitive in a lot of other matches. Our goal is to break 200 in league matches."
When the 2017 season began, it seemed like the same old story.
Tallmadge shot a 500 at the Suburban League preseason tournament. Several weeks later, the Lady Blue Devils improved their score by leaps and bounds. They shot a very respectable 417 at the Suburban League postseason tournament.
"We’re going into it with the mindset of getting better and improving," Campbell said. "We can compete."
They certainly can. Especially since they have everybody back from last year.
Leading the way is junior two-year varsity player Lizzie Bickar, who led the team with a nine-hole average of 42 and an 18-hole average of 83. Bickar, who earned American Conference second-team honors, just missed qualifying for district play last fall.
"Lizzie’s goal is to get out of sectionals," Campbell said.
Senior Marissa Graham was a steady player for Tallmadge in 2017. She was either the No. 2 or No. 3 scorer throughout the season.
The other returning senior is Brooke Santomauro, who made significant progress last year.
"Brooke made huge improvements last year," Campbell said. "She hasn’t been able to practice much this year since she has been involved in many activities."
The other senior is first-year player Ali Lancaster, who is brand new to the game.
Sophomore Gia Currey established herself quite nicely to the varsity squad as a freshman.
"Gia has made huge improvements from last year," Campbell said. "Her swing has changed. We changed her technique. She will be vying for the second or third spots."
Junior Morgan Moses, a former cross country runner who competes on the Lady Blue Devils’ track and field team, has decided to give golf a try.
"Morgan is very athletic," Campbell said.
Sophomores Hannah Fiume and Chloie Brown also hope to contribute on the varsity squad.
"Hannah and Chloie have shown a lot of improvement," Campbell said. "They will be vying for the fifth and sixth spots."
Rounding out the varsity team are freshmen Katie Michalec and Kayla Moore.
"Katie is brand new to the game," Campbell said.
Campbell’s assistant is Scott Karnuth.
Theodore Roosevelt captured the American Conference title in 2017. Highland, a longtime Suburban League power, was the runner-up.
Those two teams expect to be in the thick of the conference race again. Nonetheless, Campbell believes Tallmadge’s days of being irrelevant in conference play will end.
"Our objective is to win some conference matches," he said.
The Lady Blue Devils are scheduled to make their 2018 debut against Suburban League crossover rival Stow-Munroe Falls Monday at Fox Den Golf Course. Play is set to begin at 11 a.m.
They are scheduled to compete at the Suburban League preseason tournament Wednesday at Barberton Brookside Country Club in Norton. Play is set to begin at 8 a.m.
Tallmadge is scheduled to play at the Lady Tiger Invitational Aug. 10 at Sable Creek Golf Course in Hartville. Play is set to begin at 9 a.m.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.