Golf team looking to build on experience

By John Geiler, Staff Writer

The Iola High golf team may be small, but it packs quite a punch.

The Mustang varsity has won two tournaments back to back, besting the field April 14 at Pittsburg and then again April 21 in Osawatomie. The Buck Quincy home tournament was on tap as this edition went to press.

“It’s pretty awesome knowing you have placed first in every meet,” senior Adam Peterson said.

The team this year has seven players: seniors Kaden Macha, Shane Walden, Matt Jacobs, Adam Peterson and Drake Dieker along with, junior Gage Tomlinson and freshman Drake Sell.

The upperclassmen have played together for several years, and the experience shows. Golfing every weekend and during free time helps them hone skills. Most of the time, they are practicing at Cedarbrook Golf Course or Allen County Country Club.

“I am excited about the chance to defend our regional championship and taking another shot at a state championship,” coach Doug Kerr said. “We have five seniors that know how to win.”

All six players on the team a year ago (the five current seniors plus 2014 grad Weston Hines) qualified for the state Class 4A tournament, and Shane Walden took 10th place; a year earlier, Macha was state champion.

Tomlinson, who was 10th at the junior varsity Iola Invitational in early April, said he prepared for the season by golfing at least twice a weekend when he was able. He said he enjoys “putting and chipping and experimenting with my drive and my strategies on and off the course.”

Sell said he quickly learned that expectations are high. As the only freshman, he said, “I am especially glad that upperclassmen took me under their wing and welcomed me. I definitely feel the pressure to try to keep up the reputation strong after they leave.”