Staff Photo: John Bohn Bailey Ulp, a sophomore golfer at North Gwinnett High School, is a Super Six athlete. Ulp and his teammates practice at Bear's Best Golf course in Suwanee.
When Bailey Ulp claimed the Region 7-AAAAA individual golf championship last year, he had to prepare for more than one new high school experience.
The North Gwinnett freshman had just played his way into the Class AAAAA state tournament in his first chance, but he suddenly had to prepare for his first high school event without teammates.
"I felt like it was quiet when I got there," Ulp said. "My whole team wasn't there to push me on and keep me going. I was more to myself."
Heading into this season, the North Gwinnett boys hope to make this year's state tournament a team event.
Along with Ulp they returned three golfers from last year's team in Blake Watkins, Sam DiPaola and Pete Palmese.
Coach Bryan Sellers said all four are capable of turning in rounds under par, a requirement in the tough Region 7-AAAAA. But with Ulp, now a sophomore, comfortable and improved, there is reason to hope in Suwanee.
"I am expecting great things out of them and the rest of the team this year," Sellers said.
On the girls side, the team is returning two of its top players from a season ago. Junior Alex Hudson, who came within a few strokes of a state berth last year, and sophomore Jessica Choi have already turned in rounds of 41 in early February, tying a personal best 9-hole score from a year ago.
Hudson and Choi will be joined in the team's lineup by junior Rachel Gill in the third spot and the fourth will rotate, at least early in the year, between sophomore Rachel Chong, and new players in juniors Callie Cronin and Chae Lee.