CONYERS - Although neither team advanced to the state golf tournament, both of Salem's golf teams took steps forward during the 2008 season.
"We had a much better season than we did the year before," Salem girls golf coach Stan Allen said. "We had some girls that could really play. Our No. 1 girl, Dari Goldman, she was pretty good. She finished fourth in the region. Her average was 45, and I think her lowest score was a 39 or 40.
"We won a lot of matches this year. Last year, I think we only won two. This year, we only lost one or two matches. It was a definite improvement from last year. I was proud of them. They played well."
Allen was also impressed with the play of his other two golfers.
"Erin Knowles really stepped up this year, too. She'll be back next year and she'll probably be my No. 1. Jani Lee will also be back. She was real solid for us this year.
"We made a lot of strides in the right direction. We've also received some interest from three or four other girls who want to play next year."
Meanwhile, the Salem boys improved their consistency on the golf course.
"We were consistent. We weren't really good, but we weren't bad either. We were just consistent," Estes said. "The guys worked hard and pretty much played up to their potential. They were all hard workers and they all loved to play golf. They put in their time on the course and I think they enjoyed coming to practice and going out to the golf course every day. It was a fun group to be around because they all loved to play golf.
"We had a great group. Kyle Reagan was our most consistent golfer all year. He was fun to coach and it was a pleasure to have him on the team. Kyle, Sharvil Metha, Stephen Jackson and Lane Keenan were pretty much our top four and they were all fun to be around and coach."
Unfortunately for Salem, Estes will be replacing much of his team next season.
"We lost most of our guys to graduation, so next year looks like it might be a rebuilding year," Estes said. "Hopefully all of our young golfers will play a lot this summer and work on improving themselves and be ready for February."
Brandon Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.