Building a Winning Tradition
In a short 10-year
span, Lakota West has developed one of the area’s top prep golf
By Mike Dyer
The Lakota West
girls’ golf program didn’t become successful just by happenstance.
Since the team
started in 1997 when the Lakota district split into two high schools,
the Firebirds haven’t finished lower than fourth at the sectional
tournament. At the district tournament, Lakota West hasn’t finished
lower than sixth. So when Lakota West won the state title in 2006, it
was a tribute to the achievements several players had left with the
program at the school.
“The girls’ golf
program has been a model of consistency throughout the years,” Lakota
West athletic director Gerry Weisgerber says.
Before the Lakota
district split, girls’ golf had already emerged on the scene locally
in the mid-1980s with Lakota High School.
In 1985, Bev
Lyon, who was a math teacher at the high school, took the position as
girls’ golf coach. The ’85 squad was 14-1 and won the two tournaments
it played in during that year, according to Lakota school district
historian Bob Ashby. In 1986, Lakota went 13-0 and won the first state
coaches’ tournament. In 1987 and 88, Lakota went undefeated including
the state coaches’ tournament. Lakota’s 61-win streak was stopped in
1989, but was mentioned in Sports Illustrated, adds Ashby.
Lyon, who was the
first female inducted into the Ohio Golf Coaches Association Hall of
Fame in 1988, credited her players for their achievements during her
coaching career. She was inducted into the Lakota School district hall
of fame in 2006.
determination and education,” Lyon said. “They were willing to
practice a lot.”
The Ohio High
School Athletic Association sanctioned the sport in 1993 and Lakota
won the inaugural Greater Miami Conference tournament. In 1995, Lakota
qualified for the OHSAA state championship and finished fifth. Lyon
led the Firebirds to a fourth-place finish at state in the 2000 and
2001 seasons. She retired from teaching in June 2002.
It was that
foundation which has led Lakota West to the recent success of today.
In 2002, current
coach Tim Lambert took over the program and led the Firebirds to a
fourth-place finish at district.
pleased with Tim and how he handles the kids,” said Lyon, who still
follows the team. “He keeps improving the program.”
In 2003, the
Firebirds qualified for state and finished 11th. The
Firebirds haven’t finished lower than sixth at state since that
“Coach Lambert is
an outstanding instructor who not only is great at teaching technique,
but the mental approach of the game as well,” Weisgerber said.
In 2006, Lakota
West won the state title after it was first at sectional, district and
“The first time
(at state) it was somewhat intimidating,” Lambert said. “It was kind
of like a zoo, it was a lot colder - it’s just a different
environment. Either you rise up and do well or you are struggle a
This fall, the
Firebirds were third at state and were 11-0 during the regular season.
Each fall the Firebirds stick to a strict checklist of business as
they prepare for the golf course in Columbus.
Lambert said it
was an emotional parting after the state tournament this fall because
the four top seniors will graduate this year. Lakota West finished
55-0 in match play with those players.
(158) finished eighth at state, while seniors Marissa Steen (163),
Lauren Ellerman (166) and Kaitlyn Fienning (183) also helped
contribute to the third-place finish. Freshman Ashley Jeffers shot
“I’m excited that
I was able to help influence four young women to be successful in
whatever they do,” Lambert said of the seniors.