HHS golfers pushed at tough meet in Seneca
For notable signs of just how different this Holton golf team is from years past, one need not look further than Thursday’s performance at the Nemaha Valley Invitational.
Something happened that has only happened rarely in the past several seasons, as the Wildcats left a tournament without a team or individual medal after finishing fourth as a group and having no golfers crack the top 10.
“It’s been a number of years since we haven’t been able to bring home some type of hardware,” HHS coach Don Swisher said. “I don’t know if the kids were discouraged by that because some of them haven’t played varsity golf, but it was definitely kind of a shock.”
That may not have registered with this group of Holton golfers, but Swisher did note they were disappointed with their performance in Seneca, leading to a quiet van-ride home.
“I think the kids and I felt like we would perform a little better than we did,” Swisher said. “It was just one of those days where we again had trouble with two or three holes and some big numbers. Consequently, it affected our score quite a bit.”
While the Wildcats dealt with some tough breaks, playing only their second 18-hole tournament of the season and having to play the ball down (as it lay) for the first time this season, Swisher wanted his golfers to focus on the positives gained from the tournament.
Nils Bergsten had some troublesome holes on the front nine, but outside of that he played par golf for the rest of the tournament and turned in one of the best scores of any Wildcats on the back nine.
Hayden May continued his strong push this season, vaulting to the top of the scoreboard for Holton on Thursday after carding an 83 at the Nemaha tournament. Meanwhile, freshman A. J. Haussler continued to gain experience and confidence and also had a solid back nine to finish with an 88 for the tournament and be the Wildcats’ third-best golfer on the day.
“I want those kids to look at some positive things that came from that tournament and build on those positive things and look at the things that maybe got us in trouble and refocus and get back to some of the fundamentals of what’s causing our problems,” Swisher said.
One area the HHS golfers did not struggle in, outside of one particularly tricky green, was their short game. As problematic as putting and chipping have been in earlier tournaments, Swisher said he saw solid progress being made by his golfers in those areas from Thursday’s performances.
The trouble likely came off the tee box or between the fairway and the green and that comes back to the inconsistency.
Considering who else was in the field, with the top two teams (Wamego and Clay Center) also being in Holton’s regional, the Wildcats should have a good picture of what they need to work on if they want to be in the position to be successful in the postseason tournaments.
“It should make us, if nothing else, work harder and know that we didn’t do a very good job yesterday competing against primarily those two teams. Our play is going to have to improve if we expect to do anything at the regional here in about a month or so,” Swisher said.
With the Wildcats feeling unsatisfied after Thursday’s meet, Swisher doesn’t see motivation as an issue and he believes the Holton golfers will address their problems in the next few practices and try to take a step forward in what will be another tough 18-hole tournament in Atchison starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday.
Nemaha Valley Invitational
1. Wamego 318, 2. Clay Center 335, 3. Vermillion 338, 4. Holton 344, 5. Nemaha Central 350, 6. Immaculata 352, 7. Maur Hill 364, 8. Perry-Lecompton 378, 9. Onaga 385, 10. Atchison 388, 11. St. Marys 392, 12. Hanover N/A, 13. Horton N/A, 14. Linn N/A, 15. Valley Heights N/A
1. Ahlberg (CC) 75, 2. Spears (Wam.) 75, 3. Elder (Wam.) 76, 4. Waters (Wam.) 77, 5. Schroeder (Immac.) 79, 6. Vernon (Verm.) 80, 7. Mueting (Verm.) 81, 8. Julo (Atch.) 81, 9. E. Wheaton (Immac.) 81, 10. Morgison (PL) 81
Other HHS scores:
Hayden May- 83
Braden Sides- 84
A. J. Haussler- 88
Parker Sides- 91
Nils Bergsten- 91
Kaden Brandt- 92