Girls golf preview: Rising players look to fill big shoes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 17, 2023

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By Jay Spivey

For the Clemmons Courier

Change is in the air with the West Forsyth girls golf team this fall.

Gone from the Titans, who finished sixth overall in last year’s NCHSAA Class 4-A girls state championship, are former Coach Bill Walwik, who retired, and also gone is best player Mary-Paige King, who is the daughter of boys golf Coach Kevin King. Mary-Paige finished tied for 13th in last year’s NCHSAA Class 4-A state championship, graduated from West Forsyth this past June, and will play collegiately at Catawba College.

And change means there have to be replacements. The new coach for the Titans is Debra Troxell. And although losing Mary-Paige King is a significant loss, they still have rising senior Paige Sidney and junior Sadie Mecham to help fill the hole.

“I’d expressed interest a couple years ago in helping with the golf team,” Troxell said. “As soon as the position opened up, they asked me if I was interested.”

According to Troxell, this will be her first coaching experience with golf.

“I’m looking forward to working with the team,” she said. “I’m here to support the girls and make sure they have what they need to have a successful season.”

Before coaching golf this season, Troxell has coached cheerleading, dance team, tennis, and boys and girls soccer.

“Coaching’s coaching,” she said. “And I’m learning more about the sport and how to support the girls. But you have to do the same thing with this that you have to do with the other sports, which is to make sure that everybody’s eligible, that they have what they need for the season.”

Without the support system of Athletic Director Mike Pennington of West Forsyth, Kevin King, and Salem Glen, where West Forsyth plays its home matches, Troxell said the transition wouldn’t have been as smooth.

“If anybody I mentioned to that I’m doing this expresses support and has offered to help me with whatever I need,” Troxell said.
One plus is that Troxell is about to start her 33rd year of teaching. She teaches social studies, human geography and international studies. That means that she will be on campus if the girls need to reach her.

“It’s kind of in the same realm, but I’m definitely a teacher first,” she said. “But I started coaching my first full year at West. Back then, that’s just what you did. If you taught social studies, you coached.”

As far as the players the Titans have, they will somehow have to fill the shoes of losing Mary-Paige King, who shot a 13-over 157 in last year’s state championship at Pinehurst No. 6.

“Mary-Paige is a big loss,” Troxell said. “She was a great golf player. She’s a great kid. I had her in class, also last year. But the girls have been working. They’ve been practicing. They have private coaching and have been playing at tournaments. And while you can’t replace Mary-Paige, I think the seniors that I have, and some of the juniors, are going to be able to fill in some of those gaps.”

There are three new girls — freshman Una Davis, freshman Madison Adams, and senior Sally Tolson, who is back after taking some time off from playing on the team.

Last year, West Forsyth finished runner-up in the Central Piedmont 4-A to powerhouse Reagan. The team fared better in the regional and finished sixth overall in the state championship, 45 shots behind winner Southern Pines Pinecrest.

“I’ve not seen the girls teams play, and I know they are good, strong teams,” Troxell said. “And we’ll go out and do our best. The thing with golf is you’re not competing against the other teams as much as you’re trying to do your personal best.”



8/15 – Bishop McGuiness, North Davidson and Oak Grove
8/17 – Davie *
8/21 – @ Davie* (Oak Valley)
8/28 – @ Mount Tabor (Tanglewood)
8/29 – CPC match
8/31 – Ragsdale
9/7 – @ Glenn (Winding Creek)
9/11 – @ Parkland (Wilshire)
9/20 – @ East Forsyth (Pine Knolls)
9/25 – Davie* (Oak Valley)
9/28 – @ SW Guilford (River Landing)
10/3 – @ RJR (Bermuda Run West)
10/11 – Reagan (Maple Chase)

*Denotes non-conference game