---- — The youth movement is underway for the Effingham Lady Hearts golf team, with just one upperclassman coming back to the team in 2013.
Junior Morgan Wilson is that upperclassman, and along with fellow returnee Hope Collier, the Hearts are looking to improve on last year's 6-11 record.
While the team is young, they've been at work on the links early, joined by sophomores Kaylee Tonn and Madison Weis and freshman Alex Brummer.
"We're just trying to hit balls and get as many holes in as we can before the first match," said head coach Jerry Trigg. "We've got to put it into practice out there."
Effingham's season ended last year at its own regional tournament, as their 498 was good fourth out of five teams. They finished 36 strokes behind Teutopolis, who grabbed the last spot to advance to sectionals.
The Hearts lose Courtney White and Delanie Hagenseiker from last year's scoring rotation. Wilson led the Hearts at regionals, finishing with a 104, three strokes behind advancing as an individual. White finished with a 109 at that tournament.
Trigg forsees his eldest player taking a step forward in the 2013 season.
"She's definitely our leader this year after shooting in the high 90s and low 100s last year," he said. "She shot an 83 a few weeks ago."
The second spot is up for grabs. Collier was a regular scorer for the Hearts last season, and will be counted on to continue providing a steady presence for the Hearts.
Brummer has also made some waves as a freshman, after coming off a busy summer spent refining her game to be a key player of the varsity roster.
Both players should play a key role in the middle part of the Hearts' scoring group.
"(Hope) and Alex, I haven't had them square off yet," Trigg said. "(Hope is) already striking the ball much better. She's played well, and I look for her to be that number two or three spot."
The group is rounded out by Tonn and Weis. While the two didn't golf last year, Trigg is familiar with them as they were both members of his softball team as freshmen back in the spring.
"They're both hard workers. They're eager to learn and willing to listen," Trigg said. "(Tuesday) was the first practice for Madison, and Kaylee has improved since the first day of practice.
"I'm expecting pretty good things out of them with no experience."
Effingham's first meet of the year was originally scheduled for today at Rochester, but has been pushed back to Aug. 31.
The Hearts will take the course for the first time Thursday at the Charleston Invitational, joined by regional foes St. Anthony and Teutopolis.
For Trigg and the Hearts, the expectations are simple.
"To continue to improve, which I'm sure they will," he said. "They'll compete and want to win."