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April 24, 2013

BOYS GOLF PREVIEW: Hitting the links

Golf teams facing harsh playing conditions in early season

Despite mostly poor weather thus far this spring, the outlook for area boys golf teams remains sunny.

The following are season-preview capsules of the teams, starting with Logansport, which has a new coach this year.

Logansport

Pete Lundy is the Berries’ new coach. Michael Miller stepped down to concentrate on his career in administration.

Lundy has grown up in golf. He’s been an assistant coach at Whiteland High School. A graduate of Wabash High School, he golfed for a time at Franklin College. His father, Roger Lundy, is known as one of the best golf instructors in the state. Pete Lundy is now a full-time fifth grade teacher at Landis.

The Berries return a host of players with varsity experience, and there’s competition for the spots.

They were defeated by Maconaquah 169-183 on Tuesday at the Peru Muni. Deion Rennewanz led the Berries (1-3) with a 43, followed by Bo Bullard (46), Bryan Worthington (46), Jacob Pomasl (48) and Keaton Miller (53).

On Monday, the Berries were defeated by Culver Academy 153-200 at Mystic Hills. Will Harvey led the Berries with a 46, followed by Worthington (49), Bullard (50), Pomasl (55) and Rennewanz (58).

Last year at the Logansport Sectional, Worthington shot an 80 and Rennewanz carded an 84 to advance to the regional at Battle Ground as a freshman and sophomore, respectively.

Lundy expects the Berries to improve as the season goes along, and the thinks they can be 10 to 15 strokes better as a team than they were a year ago.

Logansport is still hosting a sectional this year, but the field will consist of some different teams. The Berries finished fourth as a team at the sectional a year ago, eight strokes behind Winamac for the final spot at the regional.

Cass

Last season was truly a memorable one for the Kings. They went 15-0 and were Mid-Indiana Conference and Logansport Sectional champions.

They’ve got three of their top five golfers back in senior David Watterson, junior Jacob Martin and sophomore Zach Watterson.

David Watterson recently signed to play at IPFW, a Division I school.

“That’s really big,” Cass coach Susan Truax said. “I have noticed he’s been a little more relaxed this year. The pressure is off. He’s already signed with the college and now he gets to go out and have some fun and play some really good golf.”

The Kings shot an even-par round at the Peru Muni this year, which they’re checking if it was a record. They finished second at the Caston Invite at Pond View by one stroke to Delphi.

“We’re still trying to find that fourth man,” Truax said. “We do have three that could fill that spot very easily in Carson Lytle, Ryan Aldridge and Derek Dittfield.”

The Kings will compete at the Peru Sectional at Rock Hollow this season.

“I think it will be tougher. There are a lot of good teams that play in that, but I still think we have a really good shot at it,” Truax said.

If the Kings get out of the Peru Sectional, they’ll compete at the Warsaw Regional at Stonehenge.

Winamac

The Warriors have a young but talented team. They finished third at the Logansport Sectional last season to advance to the regional.

“We’ve got one junior, four sophomores and four freshmen but have won two invitationals at Warsaw and the bi-county,” Winamac coach Scott Roudebush said. “At Twin Lakes we finished in the middle of the pack but only seven strokes out of third, and we played horrible.

“We’re 5-0 in matches. We’re not scoring quite as well as we’d like but we’re scoring when we need to. We have a lot of potential.”

The Warriors lineup includes a top four of Adam Gruenig, Bryant Larkin, Karsten Roudebush and Beau Conner, and there’s a battle for the fifth spot between Josh Tankersly, Kyle Hettinger and Garrett Pesarasi.

“We’ve got all golfers now. They love to play all the time,” Scott Roudebush said. “We strive to win all the meets and win the sectional.”

The Warriors will again compete at the Logansport Sectional. But the Winamac coach said he was not happy with the changes made by the IHSAA for this postseason.

“They’re only taking 15 teams to the state finals instead of 21 in a non-class sport. They’re depriving 30 kids of competing at the state finals,” he said. “In our regional, the sectionals from Valparaiso and Lake Central will now be competing. I think Valparaiso is ranked No. 1. Our mountain just grew by half.

“They’re saying it’s because of slow play at the state finals. I don’t buy it. Make it work. Penalize them for slow play. The best golfers in the state are there. It’s not like there’s a bunch of 100 shooters. I don’t like what’s happening there. We’ve made it to the regional six years in a row. We have not competed well there but we got experience and if we come together one time down there we have a chance of getting out. It’s a lot more difficult now.”

Pioneer

The Panthers have a senior-laden team. They’re led by senior Mitch Williams, who was a regional qualifier as a sophomore. Sophomore Carter Skaggs was a regional qualifier as a freshman.

Other seniors are Alex Boonstra, Tyler Beaupre and Garrett Schreyer.

“All four of those guys, Mitch, Alex, Garrett and Carter can shoot 40 to 45 on a regular basis. Tyler can shoot 45 to 49,” Pioneer coach Jess Robinson said. “The top four it’s a roll of the dice to see who’s playing where.”

The Panthers will be trying to catch up to Winamac this season.

“I don’t think anybody at the conference has come within 30 or 40 strokes of Winamac the last few years,” Robinson said. “Twin Lakes is obviously the favorite at the sectional with Winamac and Rensselaer right there. Logansport is improved. Hopefully if we have a career day maybe we’ll have a shot.

“We’ve got four guys that can shoot low to mid 80s on a good day. Hopefully we have a good day.

“We’ve had two practices in the last two weeks. We’ve had three dual meets rained out, tournaments canceled. ... Everybody’s been in the same boat.”

Caston

The Comets graduated six seniors from last year’s team that finished sixth at the Logansport Sectional.

“We have no seniors. Last year we had a really experienced team,” Caston coach Tim Strasser said. “The theme for this year is to work on fundamentals and be patient with them.”

The Comets’ lone returning letterwinner is junior Conner Martin, who is the squad’s No. 1 golfer this year.

Other golfers on the varsity include Zach Herd, Garrett Gray, Trey Doan, Nick Richter and Daron Weaver.

“The second week of the season we improved 60 strokes as a team,” Strasser said. “We are getting better. Conner should be playing in the 80s consistently. Garrett can be in the low 90s. The rest of them are looking for under a hundred. We’re not there yet. The weather has been terrible so far. We haven’t had a decent Saturday. It’s been cold and windy and miserable.

“Conner has a shot of getting out of the sectional and placing at the conference. I figure we’ll end up placing third at the conference. If we don’t have a decent day we’ll be farther back than that.”

The Comets are again competing at the Logansport Sectional this year.

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