IMAC's Wheaton named top player
It was a hard call for Immaculata High School boys’ golf coach Mike Connelly.
He had just led the Raiders to a second consecutive Class 1A state title this week at Fort Leavenworth’s Trails West Golf Course, and was asked who he believed was the area’s best golfer.
He called junior Evin Wheaton and senior Dawson Schroeder a “two-headed monster” that “no matter which way you look at it, they are both golfers of the year.”
Yet, it was Wheaton’s strong play in the postseason with an average score of 79.5, including his second straight fourth-place finish at the state finals with an 82, that has led to the Raider being selected as the 2016 Leavenworth Times’ Select Player of the Year.
During the regular season, Schroeder averaged an 80.6 to Wheaton’s 83, while Wheaton had a three-stroke edge in regional and state play.
"The award is a major confidence booster for my game, and makes me want to get better,” Wheaton said. “The time and effort that I have put into golf is finally playing off. The awards and recognition are the icing on the cake with the back-to-back state championship wins.”
Wheaton was quick to note the impact Schroeder had on the Raiders’ title runs and on him.
"Playing with Dawson and everyone on our team is an adventure,” Wheaton said, noting teammates Ian Wheaton, Jacob Murphy and Justin Varney. “Playing with Dawson is great for my game because we are both about the same skill level, so we are really competitive with each other and push each other to do better.
“Playing with Ian can have its challenges but for the most part it is a good time. Justin and Murphy keep us all entertained while we are trying to help them improve their game.”
Connelly added that Evin Wheaton and Schroeder were separated by only six strokes throughout the course of the season.
"You can’t really separate the importance of these two players and what they meant to Immaculata and golf these past two years,” Connelly said.
IMAC loses the other four golfers next spring, but Evin Wheaton will be back for another year to set Class 1A ablaze.
But if he could choose one, a state or individual title, the answer is obvious.
"I would pick the state team title,” he said. “Winning by yourself is a really good feeling but when everyone comes together and you win as a team it is a better feeling than winning individually.”
GOLFER OF THE YEAR - Evin Wheaton, junior, Immaculata
Dawson Schroeder, senior, Immaculata
Schroeder played a big part as one of the key Raiders during their state title run this spring.
The defending 2015 state champion finished in seventh place at Trails West, while taking second place at the regional tournament, behind Evin Wheaton.
Ian Wheaton, senior Immaculata
Arguably this season’s most improved golfer, Ian Wheaton averaged a score of 96.5 in the regular season, but improved that mark by four strokes in the post season.
Then he finished in fifth place at the regional tournament before wrapping his career with a blistering state-title assisting 87 at the state tournament for the champion Raiders.
Mitchell Moorehead, junior, Lansing
Moorehead finished fifth at the Class 5A regional tournament with an 82 and qualified for this year’s state tournament.
“He played around 90 most of the season, but I think he could shoot under 85 every time he plays,” said Lansing head coach Bill Pekarek.
Moorehead is now a two-year letterman for the Lions.
Jonathon Sculley, junior, Leavenworth
Sculley improved his game by 15 strokes compared to this time last year, according to head coach Jon LeBar.
The junior Pioneer qualified for the Class 5A state finals this springs.