HHS golfers off to strong start but still have room for improvement
With the success the Holton High golf program has had in recent years, the bar has been set pretty high as far as expectations are concerned.
While the Wildcats are still winning tournaments, taking first in their first nine-hole and 18-hole outings this spring, those wins have not been as dominant as in past seasons and it is not going unnoticed.
Given time, these HHS golfers might get back to that dominant level, but right now head coach Don Swisher sees their inexperience showing and it certainly came to the forefront at the Sabetha Invitational on Monday, a tournament that did not go particularly well for any of the golfers involved.
“It wasn’t something that built a whole lot of confidence in the way we played, so it just showed us that we’re still a work in progress,” Swisher said.
That’s not to say the Wildcats’ performance wasn’t without highlights, as Holton took first as a team and Hayden May captured an individual title with a total score of 83, accentuated by the 37 he shot on the back nine that started with a stretch of four consecutive pars.
Right behind May was Braden Sides, the veteran leading this group, who tallied an 84 to finish as individual runner-up and solidify himself as the rock for this roster lacking varsity experience.
It may take some time for Holton to be able to compensate for that, but results like May’s are something that can only be viewed as a positive, according to Swisher.
“Success builds confidence and if you’re confident in your swing and what you’re attempting to do, the results are going to be so much better,” Swisher said. “I think with Hayden in particular, I’ve seen improvement from him every day in practice. He still struggles at times like all of them will, but I think his confidence is coming now with some of the success that he’s had.”
May and Sides may have had banner days in Sabetha, but no other Wildcats broke 90 on the scorecard in Monday’s tournament. Garett Beecher shot 91 and finished in the top 10, but struggles on the back nine plagued him in the tournament.
There were some outside factors that may have been at work (i.e. prom, practice limitations), though Swisher noted it was pretty “blah” day for everyone involved in the tournament and the Wildcats have plenty to work on moving forward.
“We have to start hitting more fairways off the tee box and trying to hit more greens in regulation. We’ve got to position ourselves after a tee shot to where we can move forward rather than trying to get ourselves out of trouble,” Swisher said. “I wish there was just one or two particular things we need to work on, but it varies with each player, too, as to where they’re struggling and losing consistency.”
The good news for Holton is that the team will have a full week of practice before its next tournament, so there will be plenty of time to try and hammer out that consistency that Swisher notes is so key to the team’s success.
Time is on the Wildcats’ side and the team will try to shake off a little bit more of that inexperience in its next meet, as Holton will travel to Topeka for a league quad hosted by Jeff West and starting at 3 p.m. on Monday.
“We’ve got some work to do, but I’m confident with these kids. It’s still early in the season,” Swisher said.
Results from Holton’s most recent varsity and JV meets are listed below.
1. Holton 552, 2. Nemaha Central 573, 3. Sabetha 582, 4. Maur Hill 597, 5. Silver Lake 685, 6. Hiawatha N/A, 7. Atchison N/A, 8. Horton N/A, 9. Marysville N/A
1. May (HHS) 83, 2. B. Sides (HHS) 84, 3. Eppe (Sab.) 84, 4. Wessel (MH) 86, 5. Lierz (Sab.) 87, 6. Ellenbecker (Marys.) 89, 7. Bradley (NC) 90, 8. Sullivan (MH) 90, 9. Juno (Atch.) 91, 10. Beecher (HHS) 91
Other HHS results:
Parker Sides- 93
A. J. Haussler- 96
Nils Bergsten- 105
Hiawatha JV Invitational
1. Holton 203, 2. Sabetha 204, 3. Nemaha Central 210, 4. Maur Hill 219, 5. Hiawatha 255, 6. Atchison 276, 7. Falls City (Neb.) 289, 8. Horton N/A
1. Brandt (HHS) 46, 2. Krebs (Sab.) 49, 3. Lovvorn (HHS) 49, 4. Shepley (NC) 49, 5. Pulido (MH) 49, 6. Stallbaumer (Sab.) 51, 7. Miller (Hiaw.) 51, 8. Martin (Sab.) 52, 9. Nolte (NC) 52, 10. Rokey (Sab.) 52
Other HHS results:
Ethan Deegan- 53
Dylan Aeschliman- 55
Bryson Patch- 55
Tyler Price- 58