The Chadron State College golf program increased its numbers twofold last week, signing four new players to National Letters of Intent.
“We’re excited about the new class,” said CSC Head Golf Coach John Ritzen. “We had a very young team with low numbers in 2017-18, and we think with the new talent we can be competitive in the RMAC. We’re looking for players with the willingness to step in right away and compete, and we think some of them are up for that challenge. These girls coming in have some experience beyond high school that will help them compete at the next level.”
The class consists of a local Chadron High golfer, two from Colorado, and one from Ontario, Canada.
Chadron High’s Alpine Hickstein led her team to earn second place at the NSAA Class C Championships, winning an individual state title in a state record 142 strokes. She also won the Nebraska Girls Amateur Stroke Play Championships in August. Hickstein is a three-time Nebraska Super State First Teamer, who Ritzen admitted “can be even better” with some minor changes.
Kayla Elder, of Fort Collins, Colorado, has been a three-time all-conference player at Fossil Ridge High. She helped her team to conference and regional championships this fall, tying for fourth individually at the Colorado 5A Northern Regional. She went on to help the SaberCats take fourth at state with a top 25 finish.
The other Coloradoan is Anna Branscome, who plays for Bear Creek High in Lakewood, Colorado. She was named to the Jefferson County All-League Second Team in 2016. During her career at Bear Creek she set a record for Lowest Scoring Average with an 85. The two-sport athlete also competed in softball.
Finally, Canadian Abby White has competed at high school and open tournaments across the continent. For Simcoe Composite School in her hometown, she finished as runner-up at the Norfolk Secondary School Athletic Association championships. She has also competed on the Golf Ontario circuit where she won the Central Western Ontario Open title with a round of 79. In 2015-16 White was selected to the Golf Association of Ontario Under-17 High Performance Regional Team Program.
Ritzen added that Hickstein in particular, whom he has seen near-daily at Chadron’s local course, Ridgeview Country Club, will bring a contagious work ethic to the program.
He also noted that the some of the new recruits are working with a PGA pro twice weekly over the winter to improve their skills.