Trego golfers eye shot at 2A title
By NICK McQUEEN
Last season, the WaKeeney-Trego Community High School boys' golf team had a one-year stint in Class 1A.
The result was Trego's first team state championship under fourth-year coach Mark Pfannenstiel when they won by 23 shots at Emporia Municipal Golf Course. It was Trego's fifth team title overall.
Back up in 2A this season, the Golden Eagles are out to show the team title wasn't just a result of being at the 1A level.
Trego will get its shot at nabbing a 2A crown Tuesday at Fort Hays Municipal Golf Course. The first round of golfers tee off at 8:30 a.m.
"The competition is going to be a lot stiffer -- 2A rather than 1A," said Trego senior Blake Huxman, the Golden Eagles No. 1 golfer and a member of last year's title team. "We just kind of want to prove we didn't just win because we dropped to 1A. We want to prove we can win it at this level also."
The Golden Eagles have made a habit of winning all season. They won seven out of nine tournaments, fueled by the play of its top four -- Huxman, sophomore Dion Reetz, senior Luke Reeder and freshman Emmitt Owens. Senior Cade Papes and sophomore Tanner Townley round out the Golden Eagles' six.
"We're cautiously optimistic," said Pfannenstiel, who has seen a Trego team qualify for state in each of his four seasons. "We know there some really good teams there. It's not going to be easy, but we feel like we have as good a chance as most of them."
One of Trego's wins included last week's Class 2A Atwood regional. Trego beat runner-up Oberlin-Decatur Community by 14 shots. Huxman (74), Reetz (80) and Reeder (86) all finished in the top 12. On any given round, Trego's top four golfers have shown the ability to be the low man.
"That's basically what fuels us," said Huxman, who was second at the regional behind Ellis senior standout Skyler Tebo. "We compete well against each other, and that makes everyone on the team better.
"You want to do better than the guy in front of you."
Even when Owens missed three tournaments with an arm injury, the five and six golfers stepped in to help Trego win two of the three.
"We haven't had to use the six-man scores, but they've given us scores though that could have won had we had to use them," Pfannenstiel said. "They stepped in there when Owens was out, and we won two of them."
The only tournaments Trego didn't win were a second-place finish in the Hoisington Invitational behind Class 4A Larned, and the TMP-Marian Invitational when Owens was out. They were fourth behind Class 4A Goodland, Larned and Class 3A state qualifier TMP-Marian.
"It's just the practice we've put in -- the time and effort has been there," said Reetz, a freshman on last year's title team. "I thought we had a pretty good chance of being about the same team we were last year."
Pfannenstiel also gave a great deal of credit to assistant coach Daryl Kesler for the team's success as well.
"He's done a wonderful job with the guys this year," Pfannenstiel said.
Trego is hoping all that time put in, mixed with a successful spring, translates into a 2A title. Two years ago, the Eagles were second behind Ellsworth in Class 2A at Seneca. The Eagles also won 2A titles in 2006 and 2008.
"We're not calling it a sure deal or anything like that, but if we play to our potential, we think we could win it," Huxman said.
Among this year's team qualifiers, Sterling, Ellinwood, Plainville, Trego and Oberlin stand out as potential trophy favorites in the field. The state tourney is hosted by Ellis High School.
"Plainville's got some good golfers as well. If they put together a good round, they could be right up there," said Ellis coach Matt Carroll, who guided his team last season to a third-place finish in Class 2A behind champion Oberlin and Sterling. "Sterling is going to be a competitive team, and Ellinwood could be right up there also."
Plainville was the third qualifying team behind Trego and Oberlin last week, with everyone in the 80s or low 90s. The Cardinals are comprised of two seniors, two juniors, a sophomore and freshman. Junior Colton Bobek (82) was sixth at last week's regional, and junior Craig Gavert (85) was 11th. Seniors Chase Meitler (91) and Colton Adridge (92), sophomore Gunner Kerns (92) and freshman Jared Copeland (95) rounded out Plainville's day at Atwood last week.