HHS golfers claim another Big Seven League title
Considering the hurdles the Holton golf team has had to overcome this season, what was another one to leap over in Big Seven league competition at Lake Perry on Wednesday?
With the heavy rain from the past week, the Wildcats and the rest of the league competition had some hazards to be wary of, but the HHS golfers managed quite nicely and wrapped up their fourth straight league title in the process.
“We played as well as probably could be expected with the condition that the course was in, with a lot of tall grass and tall rough,” Holton coach Don Swisher said.
On top of taking the team title, the Wildcats had the top individual golfer as well, with Braden Sides continuing to roll along and claim his first tournament title of the season. He did so on the strength of a strong front nine, which included a hole-in-one on the fifth hole that somehow had seemingly little fanfare.
“Nobody really saw where the ball went,” Swisher said. “They looked and looked. Finally, I think his dad suggested to the group he was with that they might want to look in the cup and one of the kids walked over and said, ‘yup, here it is.’”
“He’s playing real well now, playing with confidence and he’s ready to go, I think,” Swisher added.
Some of his teammates seem ready to go as well, with cousin Parker Sides turning in his second consecutive prime performance with another top 10 (6th) finish.
Freshman A. J. Haussler just missed out on making the top 10, but he has started to carve out his niche and turn in some consistent performances with the more experience he gets.
While some of the other Wildcats may have struggled, Swisher said he was satisfied with the performance overall because the golfers were staying focused and working to pick each other up as a team, with the performances of Parker Sides and Haussler being key.
In addition, the coach noted the HHS golfers’ short game has come a long way and that was evident in their performance on Wednesday.
“We spent a lot of time the day before on chipping and I think our play around the green was more solid then it had been over the last few tournaments. The kids were handling the shots around the green a lot better,” Swisher said.
Going into regional competition, Swisher and the HHS golfers know they will need to have their best performance of the season to have a shot at state.
Holton has come a long way since the start of the season, so a trip to state is not out of question considering the team’s progress and motivation heading into regional play.
“I really feel that this team has over-achieved with the tournament schedule we had this year and the tournaments we won. We had some bad tournaments, but you’re going to experience that with inexperienced golfers,” Swisher said. “I’m confident in where we’re at right now. They’re looking forward to it and we’re going to go out there and give it our best shot.”
The Wildcats were to compete in Abilene today (Monday), with regional competition starting at 9:30 a.m.
Royal Valley took a pair of golfers to the league meet last Wednesday and while the golfers may not have heeded coach Willie McClane’s advice about not playing out of the rough, he said he still saw some positives from the younger golfers competing in their first league meet.
For Max Hennis, consistency continues to be an issue, but McClane said he feels his overarching message is starting to get across.
“The thing I preach about from the beginning is you don’t have to hit far, you have to hit straight and there towards the end Max started to hit straight,” McClane said.
Brandon Hart, meanwhile, just needs to have a short memory and not dwell on bad holes, McClane said, and that is something he can continue to work on as the lone Panther competing at the regional meet in Abilene.
While they may have had their struggles at the league meet, McClane noted he was pleased to see both Panther golfers finish the season.
“With everything those two guys have went through this year, it’d be easy for them to fold and say, ‘this isn’t worth it,’ but I’m very proud of those guys.”
Full results for HHS and RV from the league meet are listed below.
Big Seven League golf
1. Holton 341, 2. Nemaha Central 351, 3. Jeff West 363, 4. Sabetha 367, 5. Hiawatha 440, t6. ACCHS N/A, t6. Royal Valley N/A
1. B. Sides (HHS) 75, 2. Bradley (NC) 78, 3. Morgison (PL) 81, 4. Sowers (ACCHS) 86, 5. Epple (Sab.) 86, 6. P. Sides (HHS) 86, 7. Con. Mickens (JW) 88, 8. Mohney (NC) 88, 9. Sullivan (ACCHS) 88, 10. Coop. Mickens (JW) 88
Other HHS results:
A. J. Haussler- 89
Hayden May- 91
Garett Beecher- 92
Nils Bergsten- 97
Other RV results:
Brandon Hart- 127
Max Hennis- 173