Expectations are high for the Highland High School boys golf team this spring because the Bulldogs are loaded with experience.
Highland lost just one senior out of their top six from last spring’s sectional-qualifying squad.
“We have a lot of upperclassmen, and we have a very competitive team, so I am expecting big things this spring,” said Highland third-year coach Brent James, whose team boasts good numbers with 19 total members. “In the conference, we are the frontrunner in my mind. We’ve gotten the team out of regional the last two years, and I think our upperclassmen should take the team to sectionals again. If we get the team firing right, we could get the whole team out of the sectional and on to state.”
The five key returners includes four seniors, Ben Brauns, Brandon Munie, Connor Pinsker and Stephen Schniers, as well as junior Dylan Bargetzi.
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It is no surprise that James has seen a lot of impressive scores of high 30s and low 40s from the five upperclassmen. They are also successful multiple-sport athletes — Schniers with basketball, Pinsker with baseball, Munie with bowling, and Bargetzi with tennis.
“Ben (Brauns), Brandon (Munie) and Stephen (Schniers) have played a lot of varsity golf, and I expect a lot of leadership from them,” James said. “Dylan (Bargetzi) has been in the program since he was a freshman and has gotten a lot of varsity playing time the last two years. Connor (Pinsker) did not come into the program till he was a junior, but he got a lot of varsity experience last year, so those two will also provide a lot of leadership to the younger guys. They all five have that competitive drive, and I like that I am already starting to see leadership from all of them in the early going. I hope that continues throughout the season.”
The Bulldogs also boast slew of freshmen, led by Jake Brauns, Ben’s younger brother. The other first-year team members are Evan Sutton, Clayton Mallard, Connor Reinarman, Reid Koishor, Connor Miller and Jaxton Black.
“They have played a lot of golf and posted solid scores at Jr. PGA events,” James said. “I have seen them at events for a day posting solid numbers, and I want to see how they do as we get into competitive matches. I also want to see our upperclassmen, especially the seniors, lead the younger guys and groom them for the future. I want to see those team leaders teach the younger guys how to represent their school and community the right way.”
Also providing depth on the roster are seniors Griffin Frahm, Zachery Korte and Cameron Donahue, juniors Ethan Fenton and Tyler Howard, and sophomores Brylee Portell, Josh Johnson and Landyn Oestringer.