When the Papermakers’ top golfer, senior Emma Cox, first joined the Camas golf team as a freshman, the team placed second in the 4A state tournament — a feat the team, led by head coach Bob Foster, has accomplished every year since.
“It’s been really awesome and impressive, especially for a public high school like Camas,” Cox said.
Bellarmine Prep, a private school in Tacoma, has won the 4A state golf title for nine consecutive years, but Camas keeps edging closer to the top spot.
Individually, Cox has qualified for state every season of her high school career, finishing third as a sophomore, but slipping to 15th place last season.
“It was kind of disappointing for me last year since I tied for third my sophomore season, but I’m really excited about my senior year,” Cox said.
The senior has landed a Division I golf scholarship at Towson University in Maryland, where she will work under the direction of Lisa Ferrero, a veteran golf pro who toured with the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) for 12 years.
Cox was proactive in her search for a college, taking matters into her own hands by reaching out to a long list of East Coast schools she was interested in attending.
“I sent them information saying, ‘This is who I am, and if you like me please contact me back,’ which was kind of a long, brutal process, but I’m really happy with Towson University,” Cox said.
After frigid start, season heats up
With the scholarship hunt already in the bag, Cox can now focus completely on her senior season, which got off to an unusually cold start — the weather, that is, not the golfing.
During the girls’ first few weeks of practice in February, snow and ice covered the Camas Meadows golf course.
“Those first few weeks were pretty brutal, but the girls persevered and were out here every day chipping and putting and working on their games,” assistant coach Lori Thornton said.
Some of the days proved too cold to play outside, so the team practiced indoors, working on swing motions in front of mirrors.
“That’s about all we could do on those days, except for hitting the gym and getting our bodies stronger,” Cox said.
The Papermakers opened the season March 19, with a home match against Heritage, which they won easily, in part because two golfers for the Timberwolves failed to show.
It was a sunny, but extremely windy day. Cox managed to keep her shots low in the wind and fired a 38, while fellow senior and returning state tournament qualifier Ashley Clark shot a 44, destroying the top golfer from Heritage, who couldn’t figure out the wind and shot a 71.
Two days later the Papermakers had another easy win against Columbia River.
“We are looking forward to another remarkable season with our two seniors, Emma and Ashley, leading the way,” Thornton said.
The team is younger than it has been in past seasons, but Elizabeth Gillespie, who qualified for bi-districts last season, is back — along with her sister, Ashley, who shot a 52 against Heritage.
The team leaders, Cox and Clark, both have individual goals of finishing in the top five at state. As far as the team is concerned, the Papermakers may be young, but the talent pool is deep and the potential to win a state championship is something Clark can’t stop thinking about.
“I think, if all of us really grind and get dialed in with our swings, we have the potential to beat Bellarmine Prep,” Clark said.
Cox agreed a state championship is not out of the realm of possibility, but said her No. 1 goal for the team is to have fun and to make sure every player has the opportunity to play their very best.