BOYS’ GOLF: Athleticism key rallying cry in new year
By BRANDON HURLEY
Despite a frustrating hiatus, the Greene County boys golf team has potential to hang with the best this spring.
The Rams displayed impressive grit April 5 in their season-opener, sticking with Carroll High despite their eventual 11 stroke loss after a nearly two-year layoff.
The Tigers finished the 2019 slate ranked 10th in the state, providing formidable competition in the Rams return to play.
Head coach Heath Telleen, who moved over from the girls’ post last spring, is adamant in cherishing this spring’s schedule. Last year was the first time in 16 years he hadn’t led a team of golfers, and it hit deep.
The Coronavirus shutdown caught the sporting community surprise in the spring of 2020, which means the Rams are poised for a breakout this time around. Relishing each shot and every trip to a new course is a point of emphasis. So much can be taken away in so little time.
“We will not take for granted the camaraderie of spending time on the range and course together,” Telleen said. “I missed (last spring) very much. I have a fantastic group of kids to work with and I am really excited to get started.”
Greene County was led by Sawyer Schiltz and Joe Carey Monday in Carroll, as the duo each carded a round of 46, guiding the Rams to a team score of 190. Carroll was led by meet-medalist Drew Munson, who dished out a round of 38 in nine holes of play. Ty Nissen finished runner-up with a 39, helping lead the Tigers to a meet-winning score of 180.
Prior success is a key for Greene County as the meat of the season gets underway. Schiltz and Carey along with Caden Telleen, Max Riley and Kole Teeples have all experienced some type of victory either on the gridiron or on the wrestling mat in the past year. Schiltz qualified for the 2021 wrestling state tournament while Carey and Riley were both key members of the seven-win Greene County football team last fall. That athleticism should play a big role this spring, coach Telleen believes.
Teeples carded a 48 on Monday while Telleen turned in a 51 in addition to Riley’s 54.
The Rams may suffer out of the gates though, despite their strong start. Losing an entire season of golf, a schedule typically filled with hundreds of shots and dozens of full rounds against stiff competition, is a detriment to any golfer. The key is overcoming that loss and using it to their advantage, Telleen said.
“Every coach in the state will say that not having last spring is a huge missed opportunity for the growth of your athletes,” the coach said. “We are all in the same boat and we move on and make the best of it.”
Greene County will lean on the athletic prowess of Schiltz while coach Telleen believes his son, Caden has a chance to make an impact as well.
“He was thrown into the fire as a freshman two years ago and should be much improved,” the coach said.
Carey could become a pivotal player as well despite his relative experience. The junior is a well-rounded athlete from Paton-Churdan Telleen sees making some noise as Greene County’s No. 2.
“Carey has not played competitively before, but he is a great athlete and should be in the mix this year,” the coach said. “Another junior that returns is Kole Teeples and he has improved dramatically from his freshman year.”
Telleen expects the fifth and sixth spots to be up for grabs, which leaves room for competitive jockeying among a number of Rams waiting for their time to shine. Telleen likes Greene County’s depth heading into the year.
“It will be a wide-open race to see who is ready to take the next step and compete at the varsity and JV levels,” Telleen said. “We have a great mix of juniors, sophomores, and freshmen that we can build for the future with and I am very excited to see what we can do.”
Greene County will host its home-opener Monday, April 19 against Fort Dodge St. Edmond at the Jefferson Golf Course.
The Class 3A sectional tournament will be held Friday, May 14 at the Atlantic Golf and Country Club. The 2021 state tournament is set for May 27-28.