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North Meck extends invitation to ‘foster' golfer

Think of North Mecklenburg girl's golf as a “foster” team.

When Mallard Creek High opened last year, one of the athletes forced to transfer from North Meck was golfer Josselyn Giebeler. And because Mallard Creek didn't have its own team, Giebeler continued her golf career partly with the help of the Vikings' squad.

When North coach Rick Luttrell realized Mallard Creek wouldn't field a formal team, he offered to let Giebeler practice with the Vikings and play in their home matches.

Giebeler still represents Mallard Creek when she plays, but a small piece of her remains with North Meck.

She still can accompany North Meck's team this year, though Mallard Creek athletics director Karen McKaig said last week there may be enough student interest to put a team together this season. Giebeler said she would be happy to join a Mallard Creek team.

Away matches were tough

Over the past five years, the Vikings have become one of the state's most consistent teams. Giebeler was on teams that qualified for the state tournament in 2005 and 2006.

Before the 2007 season, Luttrell extended his invitation to Giebeler. She was slow submitting her eligibility papers, and she started the season a couple of weeks late.

“Extending that was automatic to a kid I had been working with,” Luttrell said.

Normally escorted by her father and coach, Adam, Giebeler joined the Vikings for practices and matches at Huntersville's Skybrook Golf Club. Since only one player returned to North's team from the previous season, Giebeler felt a little out of place.

Though she easily blended in with North's players at Skybrook, it wasn't as easy for her at away matches. The Vikings showing up with Giebeler would be like inviting another whole team along, which, of course, would be unthinkable.

There were times, though, when opposing coaches learned of Giebeler's situation and invited her to play anyway.

“I think it's great that they're letting her get out and play,” said Katie Murphy, a North senior. “It's a bummer they don't have a team, but I know it's hard to get a team started at a new school. She's kind of become like a family member with us, which is nice.”

State tournament scores

Leading the 2007 North Meck team, which finished third in the West Regional, were senior Callie Robertson, Murphy and freshman Katie Kirk.

Robertson was a four-year state qualifier, while Murphy, a transfer from Florida playing her first season at North, and Kirk qualified for the first time.

Kirk, who finished second in the regional, was the Vikings' top shooter at the state tournament in Lillington, placing 16th with a two-round total of 163. Robertson placed 19th, and Murphy was 56th as North finished in fifth place. Giebeler finished in 69th place.

Play during the summer

So far, Giebeler's and Mallard Creek's situation has not changed since last year, so Luttrell re-extended his offer to his former player. With Kirk and Murphy returning, things are much the same for North Meck, too.

Kirk recently completed a solid summer player in several statewide and national tour events. Among her most notable accomplishments was shooting a career-best 67 at the American Junior Golf Association's Golf Pride Junior Classic at Pine Needles in Pinehurst in August. She placed fourth out of 24 participants.

Murphy spent her summer playing a couple of tournaments near her native Gainesville, Fla., and a few Hurricane Junior Tour events in South Carolina and Georgia. She is drawing interest from Queens University.

In two high school matches this year, in which North has a 2-0-1 record, Kirk's nine-hole average is 36.5 and Murphy's is 41. Dee Sarsozo and Christin Donaldson are competing to be the Vikings' third scorer.

Giebeler is averaging a 45 over the two events. Not bad for a foster player.

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