The girls golf team at Winter Park High School is looking to raise money for the upcoming season with a fundraiser on Aug. 18.
With the start of the new school year comes the start of prep sports around the Winter Park area.
On Aug. 21, the Winter Park girls golf team will participate in its first tournament of the season, but before the team can get to that point, it needs to raise the money for expenses.
That’s why this Saturday, Aug. 18, the ladies of the girls golf team will be putting on their big fundraiser at parking lot C on Winter Park High’s main campus.
“Basically every sport — you have to raise your own money, there is not much that the school gives us as far as money is concerned,” said first-year coach Joe DiFrancesco. “We practice so we have to buy range balls and stuff like that, so this will keep us being able to practice. And sometimes we travel — hopefully we will travel to the state tournament — so we’ll have to stay over night and pay for a hotel and stuff like that.”
From 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. folks who make their way out to the high school can participate in the Lady Cats’ “Drive to State,” where a free test drive of one of the Lincoln vehicles on hand will result in a $20 donation to the team. The program, a partnership with Central Florida Lincoln Orlando, is one DiFrancesco began utilizing two years ago as the baseball coach at Edgewater High School.
“It was a great experience; it’s a community business trying to help us and we are just trying to get as many people as possible to come out to Winter Park High School,” DiFrancesco said. “We’re going to have a couple of other businesses come out to have some product and also to give some information (on) their businesses also.”
Leading up to Saturday’s fundraiser, DiFrancesco and the girls golf team held a special spirit night at Gator’s Dockside in Baldwin Park.
The event gave the girls a chance to meet the community and fundraise, DiFrancesco said. Fifteen percent of the night’s business went to the girls golf team.
THE SEASON AHEAD
With the new season quickly approaching, there still is much preparation to be done.
A year ago, DiFrancesco was coaching baseball at Lake Highland Prep, and then suddenly found himself taking the open job as the girls golf coach after talking with Athletic Director Michael Brown.
“It’s important that educators be a part of the extracurricular things, because the bottom line is we are here educating kids not only about academics and sports, but also about being good people,” DiFrancesco said. “I’ve come in with a lot of enthusiasm, and I think it’s going to be a great time for our team.”
DiFrancesco’s introduction to the world of coaching golf will be helped along by a talented group that last year won its district championship and finished 13th in the FHSAA Girls Class 3A Finals.
This year’s team will include seven returners, four of whom were a part of the team that went to states — including Emily McLatchey, MacKenzie Potter, Nicole Rave-Torres and Rylee McCully. McLatchey finished the highest in the standings as she tied for 24th place.
Along with last year’s key players, DiFrancesco will have five freshman to mold into top-notch golfers.
“I want them all to enjoy the experience together,” he said. “I also want them to get better and improve individually and also want them to be supportive of one another. The other thing is the girls went to state last year, so I’m hoping that we can make a run to state. Those are things that we just don’t want to kind of say, ‘Well we did that last year and that’s OK.’ We want to have some expectations this year and reach those team goals.”