Shawano boys golf team hoping for improvement from returning core

Clintonville's young roster readying for NEC action
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By Morgan Rode sports@newmedia-wi.com


Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano golfers work on their chipping during Tuesday’s outdoor practice in between Shawano Community Middle School and Olga Brener Elementary School.

Contributed Photo Forming the Clintonville boys golf team this spring will be, from left, Jett Koeppen, Caedyn Higgins, Wolfgang Stueck, Andy Lamia, Ryan Marheine, Drew Zeinert, Cameron Zeinert, Alex Mielke, Brayden Branstrom and Alex Beilfuss. Not pictured in Vincent Baum.

After losing two players to graduation and another to a transfer, the Shawano Community High School boys golf team enters the spring season with little experience on its side.

The Hawks return four of their five golfers that participated at regionals a season ago.

“We don’t really have a lot of knowledge as to what we will be like (which athletes will fill out of five-golfer team). We are pretty young,” Shawano coach Dean Kugler said. “We really only have two returning guys that played varsity all last year.”

Of the golfers back this year, Lucas te Plate, now a sophomore, posted the best regional score.

Juniors Karsten Anderson and Nick Sherman and sophomore Andrew Puissant all finished within three shots of each other at the regional, and like te Plate, are looking to make improvements on the course.

“I think it’s hard to determine (goals and expectations for the team) considering a lot of our new players don’t really have competitive scores for 18-hole meets,” Anderson said. “Just to get them out on the course and making sure we all improve — our first scores might not be too good because you can’t really play golf in the winter in Wisconsin and it takes time to get a few warmup rounds in. Then it’s about improving your score every time you go out and that’s really what our goals should be.”

Of the team’s 24 golfers, 19 are either freshmen or sophomores. Kugler said he would give each golfer a chance to prove themselves.

“We have some freshmen who have played some golf before, and we look forward to them pushing the older guys this year even,” Kugler said.

Kugler also noted that the golfers playing the best near the end of the season would likely be how the team determines this year’s lineup for the conference and regional meets.

The Hawks placed fifth in the Bay Conference last spring. Anderson is the only returning golfer who landed on an all-conference team, making the honorable mention team.

Kugler sees reigning champs Xavier and second-place finisher West De Pere as the teams to beat again this year. The Hawks finished 34 shots behind Xavier last spring.

At the end of the season, Shawano will compete in the Division 1 Green Bay Preble Regional on May 21. Other teams competing at that regional are Bay Port, Green Bay East, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay Southwest, Green Bay West, Notre Dame and Pulaski.

Any qualifiers will advance to the Notre Dame Sectional on either May 28 or May 29.

Clintonville

Like Shawano, Clintonville also will roll out a pretty young roster this spring.

The Truckers graduated three of the five golfers that formed the regional team a year ago. Junior Cameron Zeinert and sophomore Wolfgang Stueck are the two returning starters.

Zeinert tied for the best team finish at regionals, missing out on sectionals by just six strokes.

“I trust our junior, Cameron Zeinert, to provide leadership and be an example for the underclassmen to follow,” Clintonville coach Nick Firari said.

Zeinert is the only upperclassmen on the roster of 11, with the other 10 being sophomores and freshmen.

Sophomores Alex Mielke and Caedyn Higgins could be the ones that help fill out a five-golfer team.

“I expect our guys to compete on every shot,” Firari said. “We are really focusing on having a purpose and plan with everything we do, so that we do not compound mistakes and give away shots.”

After competing in the North Eastern Conference, the Truckers will next take part in the Division 2 Bonduel Regional on either May 21 or 22. Other teams at that regional are Amherst, Bonduel, Marinette, Menominee Indian/Gresham, Mosinee, Oconto Falls, Peshtigo, Seymour and Wittenberg-Birnamwood.

Qualifiers will advance to the Mosinee Sectional on either May 28 or May 29.

The state meet will be held at University Ridge Golf Course in Verona on June 3-4.