And it isn’t just any title.
They want a state title.
Coach Jamie Nelson knows this might be a bit of a stretch for his squad, but he wants them to aim high.
With a change in the Georgia High School Association rules, the top three scores count toward the team total. In years past, it was just two scores, so teams didn’t have to have as much depth as they do now.
The GHSA also added an additional round before the state championships. Rather than the top two teams from each region receiving automatic bids, a team must reach a qualifying score to reach the state championships. If not, it would play a sectional round to advance.
Nelson thinks the changes work in Etowah’s favor.
“I think counting three scorers will be good for us,” he said. “We have a very strong No. 1 and three or four other girls that can compete. I’m hoping counting those three scores will give us an advantage over some of the other schools. You never know what everyone else is going to bring to the table, but I feel, from a region standpoint, we are going to have a really good opportunity.
“Especially with the sectionals added before going to state, I think we can hang right with them. We have a great opportunity to make sectionals, and if we have a good year, we can make a push to win the region this year.”
The Lady Eagles returned their top four players from 2012, including juniors and twin sisters Taylor and Ashley Anthony. Sophomores Tyler Dawson and Melanie Talbott — the 2012 Cherokee Tribune Girls Golfer of the Year — also returned, while freshman Jordan Kalteux joined the team.
“I haven’t gotten to see much of Kalteux, but she looks like she will be a very good player for us over the next four years,” Nelson said. “We are pretty excited to be back this year.”
Talbott represented the team as an individual at state after winning the Region 5AAAAA title, with the team falling two strokes shy of reaching state. The two region teams that finished ahead of Etowah — Cherokee and Walton — went on to finish second and sixth, respectively, in Class AAAAA.
Nelson said that while the team is young in years, they have experience beyond those years.
“They have worked really, really hard all year,” he said. “Melanie has played since she was young, but the other girls are relatively new to the game. They have individual coachers year round and are members of the Atlanta Junior Golf Association, so they play all the time and participate in tournaments. They show a lot of drive and determination.”
The Lady Eagles came up short last weekend and placed second behind Creekview in the Grizzly Classic at the Woodmont Golf Club in Canton. Amid snow flurries and temperatures in the mid-30s, Talbott led Etowah with an 86. Dawson and Taylor Anthony shot 101 and 111, respectively.
While Creekview calls Woodmont home, Etowah doesn’t have a home course is bases its matches at. It is scheduled to play at Towne Lake Hills, Pinetree and BridgeMill, with Nelson also hoping to get Eagle Watch on the schedule as well.
“I try to schedule a lot of away matches and open the schedule up to play a few more teams that I feel might qualify for state,” Nelson said.
In addition to playing Creekview, Cambridge will present a non-region challenge.
“I try to make it as tough as we can before region,” Nelson said. “Get them as prepared as we can.”