Matthew Jonas
Peak to Peak golfers Emily Long, left, and Yaejin Lee are two of the Pumas’ top returning players as the squad continues to try to build under third-year coach Missy Schreiner.

Peak to Peak girls golf coach Missy Schreiner and her players don’t proclaim any grandiose predictions about the season that officially begins today in Colorado.

Seven Pumas on last year’s squad, after all, were new to the team and relatively new to the game as well.

But don’t think there isn’t still optimism surrounding the Peak to Peak squad. It’s just that the Pumas’ goal of building a successful program is charted out realistically over the long haul.

“Last year we had such a new squad that the leadership fell to very new people, and those people are back this year,” Schreiner, an assistant pro at Indian Peaks Golf Course who holds a doctorate in cognitive science and psychology, said this week. “It bodes well for Years 3 and 4.”

So what about the meantime?

Schreiner is in her third season leading the Pumas but, given all the new blood last year, this is really Year 2 of the building process.

The Pumas’ last state qualifier, Linnea Danielson — who made the Class 4A field as both a freshman and sophomore — missed much of last season due to injury and figures to be out again this year. Junior Tara Gomer is also out with injuries as the season begins.

But the rest of the Pumas’ core is back, with sophomores Emily Long and MacKenzie Murphy figuring to lead the way along with senior Yaejin Lee.

Of the six golfers on the Pumas’ roster, only Lee has been on the team for more than two years.

Having picked up the game as a freshman, Lee knows well that success in the game doesn’t come overnight, admitting that a state tournament berth for herself might be a stretch in her final season. But she’s also proud to be part of the gradual transformation the Pumas are undergoing.

“There’s two sophomores this year, and I think they have a lot of potential for state by senior year,” Lee said of Long and Murphy. “I think we’ve gained a lot as a team, working together as a team and pushing forward together.

“(Schreiner) is a great coach. She has a lot of little techniques that she helps us with, just mentally preparing us to go out and play.”

Schreiner, too, sees the incremental progress being made and believes Peak to Peak is on its way to becoming a competitive program.

“I think we’re starting a good trend,” Schreiner said. “They’re poised to pick up where they left off last year and build more momentum.

“One of the things about golf is you can compete as individuals and be in the top flight of competition (even against larger schools). With a school like ours, we can build enough strong individuals to be a competitive team. I think we have the girls over the next two years who can do it.”

Follow Josh on Twitter: @JoshLindenstein