Central golf teams have increased numbers

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Members of the Central boys and girls golf teams are (front, left to right) Maxwell Schantz, Trevor Amsden, Maddi Schmidt, Jillian Finley, Makayla Erickson, Addison Amsden; (middle) Aidan Wellendorf, Blake Hunt, Macie Winters, Brandi Herman, Katie Royer, Tessa Sylvester, Rayanne Dunlap; (back) Lucas Hertrampf, Caden Fette, Ryan Schroeder, Logan Sharpe, Jake Hertrampf, Marcus Evans and Max Fettkether. Not pictured are Keaton Klingman, Peyton Finley, Gracie Kennicker, Caitlyn Druecker, Jack Scherf, Isaac Loan, Mayleigh Medberry, Owen Hammersland and Jamison Feickert. (Photo courtesy of Central Tatler)

By Maci Keppler and Katie Royer, The Tatler


Spring sports at Central are in full swing. One of the sports included in this would be Central golf. This year, Ryan Burke will be returning for his third season of coaching. He discussed goals, achievements, increased team numbers and his coaching philosophy. 


The golf team is back with many returning seniors on both the boys and girls teams, such as Marcus Evans, Mark Hertrampf, Keaton Klingman, Maddi Schmidt, Makayla Erickson, Macie Winters and Caitlyn Druecker. Other returning members for both teams include juniors Jillian Finely and Tessa Sylvester and sophomores Maxwell Schantz, Isaac Loan, Max Fettkether and Jake Hertrampf.


New additions this year are seniors Peyton Finley, Gracie Kennicker and Ryan Schroeder; juniors Jack Scherf, Logan Sharpe and Brandi Herman; and sophomores Caden Fette, Katie Royer, Mayleigh Medberry and Addison Amsden. Newcomer freshmen are Owen Hammersland, Jamison Feickert, Lucas Hertrampf, Trevor Amsden, Aiden Wellendorf, Blake Hunt and Rayanne Dunlap. 


Burke discussed the returning players as well as why he believes there has been an increase in students participating in golf. “It’s definitely an increase from last year. We don’t know for sure until we have our first practice on how many we’ll actually have. But I think last year we had six girls, and this year we are looking at 12, about double for girls. For boys we only lost a couple, but we’re gaining quite a few, so I’d say we’re going to end up with about 20 boys. Quite a bit more,” he said. 


“I think it’s just kind of getting to be more popular. I think that COVID actually helped a lot for golf because now we see numbers increasing because that’s all you could really do during COVID. It was outside, so it was something that kids could actually participate in, and I think we’re seeing a growth in numbers from that, and we’re just getting more and more people. Kids just like to do what’s fun. You know, when you have a big group of people out, it’s more fun,” Burke added.


Burke also discussed his goals for both teams this season, highlighting multiple areas. “For boys, I’d like to see them shoot under 180, which is about 40 strokes better than two years ago. If we can get under 180, I think we will see chances at sectionals and districts,” he said. 


With that, Burke also shared his feelings on the girls side. “It’s really tough because it’s such an individual sport, but I’d say that we’d be looking for girls to shoot under 210. I’d like to see them move on through regionals. If we can get down into the 190s, that’s very possible.” 


Burke shared all-around strengths and weaknesses for both the girls and boys side. He believes a general weakness is mindset. “It’s a mind thing. A lot of our players, if they hit a bad shot, it ruins the whole rest of their round. Trying to coach these kids to take a deep breath and move on and don’t let one bad shot ruin your whole day,” he said. “At practice, we just work different random shots. Chipping and putting and everything like that so that, when we’re out at a meet, you’ve done this before so you kind of have an idea of what you’re supposed to be doing.” 


Numbers this year will be in favor of both teams as well as a blend of athletes with experience and those who are new to the sport. This will allow those upperclassmen and returning players to fill in leadership positions among the team.


Helping Burke this season will be assistant coaches JW Downs, high school physical education teacher, and Tony Smith, driver for Prairie Pulverizing Corp. 


Downs shared his goals for the upcoming season. “We want to see people improve from last year and see people try something new…The goal is for everybody to have an experience to look back and remember,” he stated. 


With a coaching philosophy that comes down to “be better,” he places the stress on getting team members “hyped up” and “motivated” while also focusing on accountability and productivity. 


Returning senior Makayla Erickson said that she’s looking forward to having more girls out. Erickson shared her personal goals for the season, stating, “One of my biggest goals this year is to get my scores lowered. I would also like to have our team advance to the second round of regionals again.”


Another senior returning is Marcus Evans. Evans has been playing golf since his freshman year of high school. His goals include continuing playing varsity and to teach others how to play and have fun with the sport. Evans also shared his team goals for this year. 


He stated, “Our team always works hard to be respectful on the course, and we focus a lot on the small things in the sport, such as chipping and putting. We hope to be really good at our short game this year.” 


Evans also chipped in the pros of the golf team. He commented, “Our course is generous enough to provide us with memberships if we’re on the golf team, which allows us to practice all year long even outside of the season.” 


Evans also added in why others should try golf. He stated, “I would say golf is one of the more relaxing sports, but it’s definitely very fun. The people we meet at competitions are always fun to talk to, and coaches are helpful. The course is beautiful, and the sport is fun. If you’re interested, try it out.”


Central’s first meet will take place on April 11, at home against Postville.

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