High expectations on the links
Lansing High golf enters the spring golf season coming off of a third-place finish in the Kaw Valley League and a fifth-place result at regionals and will try to overcome the loss of Mitchell Morehead, who finished in the top 10 in four tournaments.
But head coach Bill Pekarek has some good players back, including Jared Edwards, who took third at the KVL meet.
“Jarred had some good finishes in 2017 and can shoot in the upper 70s and low 80s,” Pekarek said. “We will need him to do this consistently this season to make our team more competitive. Juniors Mason Moreau and Jake Hamilton are two other guys who have the most tournament experience off of last year’s team. Mason has the gift of length and will need to do a better job this season of avoiding trouble off the tee and hitting more greens in regulation. Jake has worked hard in the weight room and has improved his ball-striking ability. He showed signs of putting together some good shots at times last year. I really believe he has the game to shoot 43 or less on nine holes every time he steps out there.”
Jacob Litewski could also come up big and helps make up the rest of the core of the team, but Hunter Hotaling, Nick Hoschouer, Justin Palmer and Emma Bollin could also step up.
“We are somewhat young overall, but I really believe we can be more competitive this season,” Pekarek said. “I see more competition among the team, and more players that can challenge to be in the top six players. Because of that, I think players who stay focused and practice with the intent to improve will rise to the top and make us a better team in 2018.”
Pekarek wants to improve team depth and hope to finish in the top of the KVL and top three at regionals while aiming big for a top five spot at the Class 5A state finals or have an individual end up in the top 15.
“Every player has areas they can improve to play better golf. Last year, even though we worked at it a lot, our short game in tournaments wasn’t that great. We are going to emphasize 150 yards and in this season and hopefully our guys gain confidence in this scoring area and our scores drop. The second thing I think we need to focus on is their ability to play smart when trying to escape from trouble or to play smart and avoid getting in trouble.”
After a strong performance, wrapping up a middle-of-the-pack finish in the Sunflower League, Leavenworth head coach Jon LeBar will rely on some veterans to help offset the loss of Jonathon Sculley, who qualified for two straight Class 5A state finals.
He will have seniors Preston Cain, Andrew Meinert and Justis Simon.
“These are the mainstays from last year’s squad,” LeBar said. “The strength of this year’s team is the three returning seniors. They have the experience now. And we have a freshman, Jonah Barrett, with some experience that should help us.
“Our weakness is our lack of depth and the fact that most of our players just started playing golf as they started high school.”
That doesn’t mean the Pioneers won’t have big objectives for the spring.
“Our goals for this season is to be competitive and to improve every day,” LeBar said. “I would love to have more than one person qualify for state, that is always the ultimate goal.”
Cody Ziegler steps in to take over the Bobcats and he will have a solid core of varsity experience to rely on with senior Zach Howard, junior Kobe Sifford and sophomore Austin Logsdon back in the fold.
Johnny Harris went to state in 2017 and is now graduated, so a top fourth scorer would be welcome.
“We are very deep and will have a lot of competition at practice for the top six spots,” Ziegler said. “We have some talented young people that will have to develop a competitive mindset under pressure.
“There is no doubt this team is focused on pursuing a league title and a state run.”