Loaded Maroons are thinking big

News-DemocratAugust 26, 2013 

— One of the top two-sport coaches in the Southwestern Conference, Clayton Fisher of Belleville West is sometimes overly cautious when speaking of the Maroons to avoid putting too much pressure on his teams.

In the case of the 2013 Maroons boys golf team, Fisher doesn't even try to hide it. The Maroons are loaded and Fisher knows it.

"We've got a senior-dominated team and a lot of these kids have played for three years," Fisher said. "We finished strong last year and most of the kids played a lot of golf over the summer.

"Our goal is to finish high in the tournaments that we play and to stay focused and avoid any mental letdowns during the season. I just want us take care of business and play up to our potential.''

The Class 3A Alton Regional champions a year ago, West is off and flying this season. The Maroons placed second behind perennial state title contender Quincy at the Alton Tee-Off Classic and last Thursday won the Triple Lakes Classic at Triple Lakes Golf Course.

West also has two of the top 10 players in the Southwestern Conference in seniors Cade Dibadj and Parker Beine to lead the way.

Both were first team all-SWC and News-Democrat All-Area selections last season.

"In tryouts they were both right around par. I know Cade played a lot of golf this summer and Parker has played a lot in the last few weeks after playing baseball, too, this summer,'' Fisher said. "They are both playing well and poised to have great senior seasons.''

Senior Michael Len is the Maroons No. 3 player, but was bothered by an illness last week. When healthy, Len gives West a top threesome few in the area can match.

"When healthy, I'll put Michael Len up against any No. 3 player in the area,'' Fisher said. "He's one of those kids who has grown a lot since he was a freshman to where he's big and strong and hits it a mile. He's got a great golf swing."

Senior Chris Brown is the Maroons' No. 4 player, while junior Austin Cleveland and sophomore David Crosby rounded out the Maroons top six qualifiers.

"Of my top four players, I think we've got two or three kids who could be right around par each time out,'' Fisher said. "Chris Brown is a player who can go really low when he's playing well. I'm looking for him to have a couple of big tournaments for us this season.''

Five other players -- seniors Bryan Carr and Drew Renner, juniors Angelo Caponi and Ryan Helfrich and sophomore Zach Hanusek -- are others who could occasionally break into the lineup.

Fisher said he would like to see scores around 150 (for nine holes) and 18-hole scores around 315 for his team this season.

"I think that's realistic. We shot 323 the other day at Spencer T. Olin in Alton and that's a championship course with the kids playing their first tournament of the season,'' Fisher said. "Regardless, I'm looking for us to have a very successful season.''

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