by Cliff Mehrtens

HUNTERSVILLE – Maegan Ports’ senior season as a golfer for Lake Norman Charter ended much differently than her junior year.

“Last year, I did good in the regular season, but not so good in the post-season,” Ports said. “This year, I tried to make sure I did better in the post-season.”

Ports’ play stood out in both phases of the season, and she is the Herald Weekly’s Girls Golfer of the Year.

She played consistently all season, finishing a close second to East Lincoln High’s Brittany Smith for player of the year honors in the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A conference. Ports surged during the post-season, finishing eighth in the regional tournament and ninth at the state meet (among 78 golfers), easily the best post-season performance by any lake-area golfer.

“It was just working on being consistent,” she said. “I knew that if I could keep my swing consistent, I would be fine.”

Ports had an average score of 40 in nine-hole competitions.

“Maegan has always been the paradigm of consistency,” Lake Norman Charter coach Greg Murphy said. “She finished in the top 1-to-3 positions in virtually every conference match in her high school career.  Over time, she developed a very sharp short game, which permitted her to get the ball into the hole.  She worked especially hard during the off-season to improve her distance off the tee.

“Maegan has always been one of the most accurate ball-strikers and now, combined with her new-found distance, she was able to compete with any golfer in the state.”

Working hard during the summer helped Ports improve her game, especially working with new coaches and participating in several tournaments. She said the distances of the tees were farther than what she’d normally played, which forced her to improve driving the ball.

Her efforts helped lead Lake Norman Charter to the conference championship and a third-place finish at the regional tournament.

“No one moment of the season stood out,” Ports said. “I really enjoyed the whole thing. It was a good season to have my senior year, playing with the same people I’ve been playing with for awhile.”

Herald Weekly 2012 GIRLS GOLF Coach of the Year

Greg Murphy has turned Lake Norman Charter into a golf power.

Murphy’s girls’ squad didn’t lose a match in Southern Piedmont 1A/2A competition this fall, finished third at the regional and advanced to the N.C. 1A/2A championship tournament for the second straight year. He is the Herald Weekly’s Girls Golf Coach of the Year.

Murphy’s team landed Meagan Ports, Kaelyn Pack, Brittany Buckstad and Kayla Thomas on the all-conference team. Ports, Pack and Thomas qualified in the regional tournament to represent Lake Norman Charter in the state tournament for the second straight year.