The parade to play at the next level continues at Yarmouth High School as two top female athletes recently made their college choices known.
Senior Monica Austin, one of the state’s premier female golfers, earned an opportunity to attend and play at Division I Elon University in Elon, N.C. next year, while classmate Julia Primeau, one of the state’s best girls’ lacrosse players, will attend and play lacrosse at Division III Dickinson College in Carlisle, Penn.
Austin, Yarmouth’s 2012 Fall Female Athlete of the Year, showed a knack for golf at a young age in the Woodlands Youth Program. As a freshman, she was fourth in the state among girls’ golfers. She tied for second as a sophomore, placed second (by one stroke) as a junior, then came in fourth this past October. Austin, who also placed second at last summer’s Maine Women’s Amateur, wanted to go to school down South and was impressed by Elon.
To say the least.
“Elon was one of the last schools I visited and I fell in love with everything,” Austin said. “I love the coach and the philosophy. The program has grown and gotten a lot better. There’s a girl from Ireland, another from Scotland, others from all over the country.”
Austin, who also played basketball and is about to embark on her final softball season, discovered early in high school that her golf skills might lead her somewhere.
“When I made varsity as a freshman, I realized I was good and I realized it was a path I wanted to pursue,” Austin said. “Only a handful of Maine girls have played in college. I’m honored to be a part of that group.”
Yarmouth golf coach and Toddy Brook Golf Course head golf professional Gregg Baker is confident that Austin has what it takes to impress at the next level.
“Girls’ golf in Maine is fairly unique in that teams are co-educational and during state events, girls play from the same tees as boys and this often results in much greater visibility and scrutiny for top girls in the state than is often seen in ‘girls’ only’ competition and as a top contender, Monica has been a credit to herself and her team throughout the competitive season,” Baker said. “She’s accumulated an impressive record and consistently scores among the best players in the state across a broad spectrum of courses.
“While Monica’s physical abilities are obvious, her greatest assets as a golfer are her fierce competitive nature, willingness to work hard and strong commitment to team. Her presence raises the bar in terms of work ethic, ‘perfect practice’ and positive attitude among her teammates. Her leadership has helped her colleagues become better golfers. It’s been a pleasure coaching Monica and I envy the Elon program.“
While Austin knows she still needs to elevate her game, she looks forward to an opportunity to play at Elon, which competes in the Southern Conference and is coming off a first place showing at the recent JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla.
“I’ve seen in national tournaments how good other girls are,” Austin said. “At Elon, before every tournament in the fall and the spring, the whole team goes out and the top five play in the next tournament. It’s an equal chance. That’s how it should be.”
Elon coach Chris Dockrill knows he has a player capable of quickly making her mark.
“We are very excited to have Monica join our team,” Dockrill said. “Monica will be a great addition and we feel that with the opportunity to practice year-round, she’ll see great improvement in her game. We feel she will be able to compete for a top five position as a freshman.”
Austin, who is leaning toward studying event management, credited her time at Yarmouth playing each of her sports, for helping her achieve her college dream.
“Gregg Baker and (former coach) Tom McDowell taught me a lot,” Austin said. “They were fantastic. A lot of lessons I learned from basketball and softball I put into golf. You’ve got to be mentally tough.”
Primeau was next in line, commiting to Dickinson, a member of the Centennial Conference.
“I’m definitely very excited,” Primeau said.
Primeau wasn’t even sure until recently that college lacrosse was in her future, so it wound up being a whirlwind process.
“I didn’t decide to play lacrosse in college until last fall,” said Primeau, who’s entertaining studying either biology or economics. “I did an overnight (at Dickinson) in December and fell in love with the school. It sounds corny, but I felt I belonged there. It’s a gorgeous campus with great athletics and awesome academics. I absolutely love lacrosse. I’m lucky to play lacrosse and be at a school where I feel so comfortable.“
While the Red Devils are a relatively young team under the direction of Coach Kim Lowry, they won their first five games and are currently 5-2.
Primeau, who played attack as a freshman, midfield as a sophomore and now defense, was recruited to play defense at Dickinson and Lowry is excited about her addition.
“We are so excited for Julia to join our program next year,” said Lowry. “She’s a hardworking student-athlete who will help take our program to the next level. Julia’s athleticism and competitive spirit will fit in nicely with the high pressure, aggressive defense that we play.”
Primeau, who, like Austin, is a three-sport athlete, playing soccer in the fall and being one of the best downhill skiers in the state in the winter, credits her time at Yarmouth for her growth as an athlete.
“Playing for Yarmouth has been awesome,” Primeau said. “(Girls’ lacrosse coach) Dorothy (Holt) is great. The whole lacrosse culture is great. It’s a great community.”
Holt, who has coached three state championship teams and numerous standout players in her decade-long tenure with the Clippers, knows that Primeau is special.
“Julia is an all-around team athlete,” Holt said. “She excels at soccer, skiing and lacrosse. I’ve watched her improve her game since she was very young and this is an incredible achievement and I couldn’t be more proud of her. Julia brings her ‘A’ game every day at practice as well as games. She’s very dedicated to her coaches and team. She’ll be a great addition to Dickinson. Her hard work has paid off and I can’t wait to watch her take it to the next level.”
Primeau may be looking forward to playing at Dickinson, but she and her teammates, after falling just short in last year’s state game, have unfinished business.
“I can’t wait for the season,” Primeau said. “There’s more pressure on us this year, but we’re prepared for it.”
Yarmouth senior Monica Austin will take her superior golf game to Elon University in North Carolina next year.
Yarmouth senior Julia Primeau will be playing lacrosse this time next year at Dickinson College.