Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

March 19, 2013

County teams back into the swing of things

By Jake Thompson

— With no squad making it to the state finals last year after several consecutive seasons of going, the boys’ county golf teams are back and ready to remedy that situation.

Avon

No team had been to the state finals in as many consecutive years in recent history than the Avon Orioles. Last season’s shocking defeat at the Center Grove regional served as an inspiration for preparation.

“Missing state last year by a shot has really motivated this group,” Avon coach Tom Maples said. “I think they’re more focused and more determined than ever. I think it was a bit of a wake-up call — not that they needed that because these kids have tons of experience and they know how humbling this game can be. I certainly think it has been a huge motivator this off season.”

Avon hopes to be in contention for county and conference titles, but their main aspiration this season is to return to the state tournament.

“Any time you tee it up, the expectation is to compete at your highest level and if we can do that we’ll have a very successful season,” Maples said. “We hope to do that at county, conference, and sectional. Beyond that, the goal is simply to survive and advance and hang around long enough to have a chance that second day at state. Medaling at state is for sure a goal, and if we’re good enough on those two days we hope they’re blue medals around our necks.”

Returning to help the Orioles achieve those lofty standards are Keegan McKinney, Mark Whipple, and Brad Patz, who all come back with experience gained not only from high school play, but also Junior Golf across the country.

“These kids are golfers,” Maples said. “They have a love and passion for this game. They’ll bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to our team this year that will be counted on a great deal.”

After those top three spots, the Orioles will search for the right combination throughout the season to make up the varsity rotation and that very well could determine Avon’s postseason fate.

“I think the biggest key is always those X factors, typically at the four and five spots,” Maples said. “We go into just about every year confident in what you’re going to get out of the top three. It’s that next three kids where you’re just never sure what you’re going to get. We have about four or five kids who will have an opportunity to step in and lock down those spots. Those spots are always the difference in the state champion and everyone else.”

Looking to fill in those spots are Andrew Voss, Brian Joswick, Joe Floreancig, Hayden Shanahan, Chris Castelle, and Luke Berger. Maples said they’re “all kids capable of stepping up and making a big impact for us this year at the varsity level.”

Cascade

With a year as the boys’ golf coach under his belt, Anthony Arthur feels a bit more at ease as his team heads into this season.

“The biggest difference is that the guys are more comfortable with me, the way I teach, and what I expect from each of them,” Arthur said. “This is a great thing, in my opinion. In our first meeting of the year we talked about being able to run the team this year a lot easier and more of an individual atmosphere and that’s all because of having been with them last year.”

Hopefully, that will pay off for the Cadets as they look to improve on last season’s efforts. With constant improvement on their minds, Cascade set some reachable goals for its senior-laden team.

“This year the WCC title looks to be within reach for us,” Arthur said. “We’ve not won the conference title since 1994. We have a very experienced team ... capable of taking us there this year. That’s our biggest focus for the year but, like with every sport, you want your team to peak at sectional tournament time and we’re no different.”

After losing just one senior last season, the Cadets bring back seniors Justin Franchville and Drew Gowan to take on more of a leadership role.

“We ‘ll go as these two go this year,” Arthur said. “Both of them finished the year averaging under 40. Drew really came on strong at the end of the year and I’m hoping that momentum and work will continue this spring. I know Justin never stops working on his game and there will be a lot put on him to lead us and play well this year.”

Sophomore Hunter Drury returns after spending most of last season in the No. 1 slot. Along with Franchville and Gowan, he’ll make up the core of Cascade’s team.

“If they can continue to average under 40 and around even par, we’ll win a lot of matches and give us that shot at the WCC title,” Arthur said.

With the top three spots nailed down, the Cadets are searching for consistency at the four and five slots.

Arthur said he’s not sure who will be there and anyone could take those slots with a series of good performances.

Players looking for that opportunity include seniors Jake Canaday, Drake Whickee, and Johnny Will, junior Jackson Lance, and sophomore Austin Ferris.

“We, as a team, have to get the most out of each day,” Arthur said. “Having such a short time to prepare and a short season, every day counts. We talk a lot about ‘get better every day’ and that will be our motto for the season.”

Plainfield

After ending last season 12-1 with a fifth-place finish at sectional, Plainfield had two players advance through the regional and into the state tournament. Former Quaker Rylan Porter finished fourth at the state tournament while freshman Jon Gulley gained valuable experience for the remainder of his high school career.

That should bode well for Plainfield as coach Jon Utterback believes the Quakers “should be able to compete with some of the better teams in the state.”

While the Quakers do not have any seniors, Gulley’s experience, combined with quality play from Ryan Schuld, Dylan Holsclaw, Chris Heckman, Grant Beanblossom, and Kyler Nichols, should result in some wins.

Utterback knows what the success of his team is riding upon.

“Our key will be with the four/five golfers on our team,” he said. “Wins and losses will come down to those kids.”

Utterback said he believes the county tournament and Muncie Central Invite will help the young Quakers gain valuable experience headed into the postseason.

Another goal this year for the Quakers is a Mid-State Conference title.

“We have some solid schools in our conference,” Utterback said. “It’s one of the better ones in the region. If we’re playing well, I think we can win it. But it’s golf, so it depends on the day.”

Tri-West

The Bruins’ golf team finished seventh in the Sagamore Conference a year ago, fifth in the county, and 11th at sectional. Tri-West graduated two seniors from that squad.

“We have a lot of work to do to be successful,” Tri-West coach Tom Pemberton said.

Seniors Garhett Cook, Brandon Bischof, and Eric Schmidt return to aid the Bruins in their hopes of bettering this season.

“Cook is a top player from last season who will need to step up and lead the team,” Pemberton said.

With so many uncertainties heading into the year, Tri-West needs to focus on improvement.

Pemberton was realistic when addressing the situation Tri-West faces as each of the three aforementioned golfers averaged a bit over 45 last year.

“That’s obviously not going to be competitive against better teams, so we have our work cut out for us,” he said. “A key factor for success for us will be work ethic and setting realistic, attainable goals to improve.

“Golf is a sport where you have to work really hard on your weaknesses every day to see any real improvement and my players will really need to focus on improving those weaknesses if they want to see positive results in competition.”

Like all of the county teams, weather has definitely played a factor with practicing. Pemberton said he was hoping to be able to get his guys some practical early season work, but that hasn’t happened.

“Until I get my guys out there on the course, I have no clue what to expect in terms of finishing,” he said. “As long as they work really hard to get better as both a player and an individual and have some fun while doing so, I’ll be satisfied.”

Brownsburg

Brownsburg welcomes a new coach to its ranks this season. Steve Brown takes over the reigns for a Bulldogs’ golf team that finished second in the county, fourth at sectional, and sixth in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference a season ago.

What bodes well for the Bulldogs in this transition period is the experience they return. Gone are ace Austin Winnings and Tyler Corder, but Brownsburg brings back a bulk of its varsity roster.

“The team worked very hard during preseason conditioning and the weather during the week of tryouts has been very difficult,” Brown said.

Still, he said he’s hoping to get a better start this season than in years past.

While Brownsburg has been successful over the past several years, the Bulldogs have failed to move on from the opening round of the postseason, something Brown believes they can accomplish this season.

“Advancing out of the Martinsville sectional is one of the team’s goals for this season,” he said. “I feel if each player makes improvement in ability, attitude, and decision-making throughout the season, then our team goals relative to success in the conference tournament, the Hendricks County tournament, and the state tournament will be achieved.”

Making those goals possible will be a slew of seniors, starting with Derek Hettmansperger. After carding a 67 to take individual medalist honors at sectional last season, Hettmansperger again advanced into the regional round of play.

Classmates Alec Brown and Casey Cross bring three years of varsity experience to the table and, along with Kyle Dafoe and Michael Wamsley, make up the leadership of the Bulldogs.

“Cross and Brown both have shown the ability to score on a consistent basis the previous two seasons,” Brown said. “Dafoe and Wamsley have improved their golf games since the conclusion of last season. Hettmansperger will be relied upon to provide very good play and leadership. The five seniors are all good students with good character and, most importantly, are excellent teammates to the younger players.”

Also in the mix for a varsity spot are sophomore Zach Clemens and freshmen Luke Kelly and Landon Mundell.

Brown said the Bulldogs know what their chances at a successful season boil down to.

“The biggest factor to our team’s success this season will be consistent play in all matches from all five positions,” Brown said. “If a team can have five or more different players that a coach is confident in playing in any match, then consistent team success is attainable.”

Danville

The Warriors finished with a 4-9 record last year and a sixth-place finish in the Sagamore Conference. Danville also lost three starters from last season with significant varsity experience.

Coming back to lead the Warriors this season are sophomores Payton Perry and Ryan Miller, along with sophomore Justin England who spent much of last season on the junior varsity squad. Both Perry and Miller played on the varsity squad as freshmen.

“We will need good seasons from our returning golfers, along with freshman Garrett Compliment,” Danville coach Terry Siddall said of the Warriors’ keys to success this year.

Compliment looks to contend for the No. 1 slot and is a welcome sight for the Warriors who need an influx of talent and experience on such a youthful squad.

“Garrett has shown well in the junior golfer circuit and should be key for us this year,” Siddall said. “Perry should have a nice season as it’s his second as a full-time varsity player.”

Compliment, Perry, England, and Miller should make up the top four slots for the Warriors and one of 15 freshmen that came out will man the final spot.

The best way to improve is to be battle tested and to that end the Warriors will play in seven major tournaments throughout the season.

Siddall is realistic in his goals, saying that he hopes the Warriors advance a player out of the sectional and finish in the top half of the conference as a team.

Players looking for that opportunity include seniors Jake Canaday, Drake Whickee, and Johnny Will, junior Jackson Lance, and sophomore Austin Ferris.

“We, as a team, have to get the most out of each day,” Arthur said. “Having such a short time to prepare and a short season, every day counts. We talk a lot about ‘get better every day’ and that will be our motto for the season.”

Plainfield

After ending last season 12-1 with a fifth-place finish at sectional, Plainfield had two players advance through the regional and into the state tournament. Former Quaker Rylan Porter finished fourth at the state tournament while freshman Johnny Gulley gained valuable experience for the remainder of his high school career.

That should bode well for Plainfield as coach Jon Utterback believes the Quakers “should be able to compete with some of the better teams in the state.”

While the Quakers do not have any seniors, Gulley’s experience, combined with quality play from Ryan Schuld, Dylan Holsclaw, Chris Heckman, Grant Beanblossom, and Kyler Nichols, should result in some wins.

Utterback knows what the success of his team is riding upon.

“Our key will be with the four/five golfers on our team,” he said. “Wins and losses will come down to those kids.”

Utterback said he believes the county tournament and Muncie Central Invite will help the young Quakers gain valuable experience headed into the postseason.

Another goal this year for the Quakers is a Mid-State Conference title.

“We have some solid schools in our conference,” Utterback said. “It’s one of the better ones in the region. If we’re playing well, I think we can win it. But it’s golf, so it depends on the day.”

Tri-West

The Bruins’ golf team finished seventh in the Sagamore Conference a year ago, fifth in the county, and 11th at sectional. Tri-West graduated two seniors from that squad.

“We have a lot of work to do to be successful,” Tri-West coach Tom Pemberton said.

Seniors Garhett Cook, Brandon Bischof, and Eric Schmidt return to aid the Bruins in their hopes of bettering this season.

“Cook is a top player from last season who will need to step up and lead the team,” Pemberton said.

With so many uncertainties heading into the year, Tri-West needs to focus on improvement.

Pemberton was realistic when addressing the situation Tri-West faces as each of the three aforementioned golfers averaged a bit over 45 last year.

“That’s obviously not going to be competitive against better teams, so we have our work cut out for us,” he said. “A key factor for success for us will be work ethic and setting realistic, attainable goals to improve.

“Golf is a sport where you have to work really hard on your weaknesses every day to see any real improvement and my players will really need to focus on improving those weaknesses if they want to see positive results in competition.”

Like all of the county teams, weather has definitely played a factor with practicing. Pemberton said he was hoping to be able to get his guys some practical early season work, but that hasn’t happened.

“Until I get my guys out there on the course, I have no clue what to expect in terms of finishing,” he said. “As long as they work really hard to get better as both a player and an individual and have some fun while doing so, I’ll be satisfied.”

Brownsburg

Brownsburg welcomes a new coach to its ranks this season. Steve Brown takes over the reigns for a Bulldogs’ golf team that finished second in the county, fourth at sectional, and sixth in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference a season ago.

What bodes well for the Bulldogs in this transition period is the experience they return. Gone are ace Austin Winnings and Tyler Corder, but Brownsburg brings back a bulk of its varsity roster.

“The team worked very hard during preseason conditioning and the weather during the week of tryouts has been very difficult,” Brown said.

Still, he said he’s hoping to get a better start this season than in years past.

While Brownsburg has been successful over the past several years, the Bulldogs have failed to move on from the opening round of the postseason, something Brown believes they can accomplish this season.

“Advancing out of the Martinsville sectional is one of the team’s goals for this season,” he said. “I feel if each player makes improvement in ability, attitude, and decision-making throughout the season, then our team goals relative to success in the conference tournament, the Hendricks County tournament, and the state tournament will be achieved.”

Making those goals possible will be a slew of seniors, starting with Derek Hettmansperger. After carding a 67 to take individual medalist honors at sectional last season, Hettmansperger again advanced into the regional round of play.

Classmates Alec Brown and Casey Cross bring three years of varsity experience to the table and, along with Kyle Dafoe and Michael Wamsley, make up the leadership of the Bulldogs.

“Cross and Brown both have shown the ability to score on a consistent basis the previous two seasons,” Brown said. “Dafoe and Wamsley have improved their golf games since the conclusion of last season. Hettmansperger will be relied upon to provide very good play and leadership. The five seniors are all good students with good character and, most importantly, are excellent teammates to the younger players.”

Also in the mix for a varsity spot are sophomore Zach Clemens and freshmen Luke Kelly and Landon Mundell.

Brown said the Bulldogs know what their chances at a successful season boil down to.

“The biggest factor to our team’s success this season will be consistent play in all matches from all five positions,” Brown said. “If a team can have five or more different players that a coach is confident in playing in any match, then consistent team success is attainable.”

Danville

The Warriors finished with a 4-9 record last year and a sixth-place finish in the Sagamore Conference. Danville also lost three starters from last season with significant varsity experience.

Coming back to lead the Warriors this season are sophomores Payton Perry and Ryan Miller, along with sophomore Justin England who spent much of last season on the junior varsity squad. Both Perry and Miller played on the varsity squad as freshmen.

“We will need good seasons from our returning golfers, along with freshman Garrett Compliment,” Danville coach Terry Siddall said of the Warriors’ keys to success this year.

Compliment looks to contend for the No. 1 slot and is a welcome sight for the Warriors who need an influx of talent and experience on such a youthful squad.

“Garrett has shown well in the junior golfer circuit and should be key for us this year,” Siddall said. “Perry should have a nice season as it’s his second as a full-time varsity player.”

Compliment, Perry, England, and Miller should make up the top four slots for the Warriors and one of 15 freshmen that came out will man the final spot.

The best way to improve is to be battle tested and to that end the Warriors will play in seven major tournaments throughout the season.

Siddall is realistic in his goals, saying that he hopes the Warriors advance a player out of the sectional and finish in the top half of the conference as a team.