Athletes of the Year_rachel rich

Oceanside Collegiate's Rachel Rich is the girls golf All-Lowcountry player of the year. Lauren Petracca/Staff

Friendly wagers are a traditional part of golf, and also a key to the start of Rachel Rich's playing career.

As a young girl, Rachel accompanied her father to the driving range at Charleston National.

"He'd make a bet with me, that every time I could hit it over this one hill, I'd make a dollar," Rachel recalls. One day, I got like 20 dollars and I felt like, 'This was kind of fun.'"

Now a junior at Oceanside Collegiate Academy, Rich hasn't stopped winning. Capping a year in which she won the Women's S.C. Golf Association's junior championship, Rich helped Oceanside to its second straight Class AAA state title in girls' golf.

Rich fired a 75-77—152 to finish tied for sixth with teammate Kayla Bartemeyer, who also shot 75-77—152 at the Carolina Springs Country Club in Fountain Inn. The Landsharks' Garbiela Martinez also posted a top 10 finish at the AAA state tourney.

"It was awesome," said Rich, who also was part of OCA's state title in 2017. "We all were really excited. We had some freshmen on the team who had never experienced that before, so we were all really happy about that."

For Rich, high school golf provides a welcome respite from the travel and grind of junior golf tournaments. She's currently ranked fifth in the state by the S.J. Junior Golf Association.

"All the girls on the team are great," she said. "We all have good competition but also have a lot of fun, so it's a healthy environment."

Rich, who loves strapping on her headphones and practicing up to three hours a day, hopes to turn her love for the game into a college scholarship and, perhaps, a pro career.

Rich's high school season also included a third-place finish at the WSCGA High School Invitational, and a fifth-place finish at the AAA Lower State tournament.

She's joined on the All-Lowcountry first team by OCA teammates Bartemeyer and Martinez; Bishop England's Kennedy Carroll, the 2017 All-Lowcountry player of the year; and Fort Dorchester's Cecelia Knecht, who finished tied for 11th at the Class AAAAA state tournament.

OCA coach Billy Ross is the coach of the year.


First Team

Rachel Rich, Oceanside Collegiate

Fired a 75-77—152 to finish T-6 and lead Oceanside to the Class AAA state title.

Kayla Bartemeyer, Oceanside Collegiate

Matched her teammate Rich with a 77-75—152 as Oceanside repeated as state champ.

Kennedy Carroll, Bishop England

The 2017 player of the year shot 79-74—153 as BE finished second in AAA.

Gabriela Martinez, Oceanside Collegiate

Her score of 74-80—154 was good for a top 10 at the AAA state tournament.

Cecelia Knecht, Fort Dorchester

Finished T-11 at the Class AAAAA state tourney with an 81-77—158.

Honorable Mention

Wando: Ella Drew Dodd, Regan Clifford, Lily Joyce; Oceanside Collegiate: Lexi Lucarelli, Haven Hobbs; Bishop England: Grayson Bonner, Kat Klein, Ally Dominiak; Ashley Hall: Raegan Proples; First Baptist: McKenzie Norwood; Northside Christian: Maryn Brewer; James Island: Olivia Erwin; Fort Dorchester: LT LeShore, Raven Turner, Katie Skipper; Pinewood Prep: Karla Correa. Porter-Gaud: Grace McMillan.

Coach of the year: Billy Ross, Oceanside Collegiate.

Based on performances at state tournaments and the high school season.

Reach Jeff Hartsell at 843-937-5596. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_fromthePC

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