By Doug Brenneman, The JOURNAL
Every season has its ups and downs, regardless of the sport.
The Washington High School boys golf team experienced some highs and lows last season.
?We definitely had some highlights last year,? Washington head coach Mark Berhow said.
The Demons were the Southeast Conference champions when Washington had a strong finish to its regular season.
?When it came to going to sectionals, we had a couple of injuries,? Berhow said. ?That definitely limited some of our guys from playing. We weren?t as strong at the end in that sense as we could?ve been.?
The Demons plan to focus on the strengths exhibited at the end of the regular season.
?We definitely hope for something better,? Berhow said. ?We did have one guy advance to districts, who had gone to state the previous year.?
Dalton Myers, who is a senior this year, was the individual medalist runner-up at districts last year.
The Demons had a team average of 159.86 for nine holes last season. To improve on that, Berhow said the team must improve its play around the greens.
?They will learn to stay out of the trees,? Berhow said. ?They will learn to hit out of tough positions. The key will be how you play around the green. If we limit the strokes we use there, the more successful we will be. That part of the game that always needs work is around the green, whether it?s the beginning of the year or the end of the year.?
The Demons lost three players to graduation.
?They had some consistencies and some inconsistencies, but we will miss them,? Berhow said.
He will count on this season?s two seniors to lead.
?We have some strong players coming back,? Berhow said. ?So we are looking forward to the season and what we can accomplish. We are in pretty good shape. Two seniors, one junior and three sophomores will probably be our top six.?
The seniors are Myers and Jacob Van Osdol.
?They have been really good in their career,? Berhow said. ?They put in a lot of work and a lot of effort.
?We want to help them enjoy their last season because we will miss them when they?re gone.?
Mitchell Driscoll, a junior, and three sophomores ? Brock Sobaski, Caleb Tanner, Mitchell Driscoll ? will likely comprise the rest of the top six.
?You never know who may step up over the course of a season, though,? Berhow said. ?The medalist position will be a tossup, I think. Jacob and Dalton are both solid. Brock had an injury that kept him out of two-thirds of the season. I think he has opportunities to be medalist in some meets. Brady is right there too. He has more experience though and he?s very good athlete so I think he will be very successful for us. Caleb moved up when we had some injuries last year and showed what he was made of. Mitchell, there?s another one. We will just have to see how they position themselves, how they play in meets and how they respond to varsity pressures. We?ll go from there.?
Other juniors are Luke Reuscher, Ben Loy, and Hayden Westphal.
Avoiding injuries and using the experience the Demons have will be key to improving on last year?s results.
?If we can keep everybody healthy, that will be the big key to the season,? Berhow said. ?We definitely have an advantage with our top three or four being very solid.?
The Demons started practice March 12 and have already played three nine-hole practice rounds.
?We have been kind of limited because of the weather,? Berhow said. ?The weather has not been very stellar. Getting started, it?s always tough.?
With the weather, nothing has been mowed yet. All the grass is long.
Berhow said that can lead to the players overcompensating.
?It can be it can develop a little bit of a bad habit when you?re putting because the grass is still long so you are hitting it extra hard. You try to go extra strong and you don?t develop the touch that you need.?
The weather, course conditions, players lost to graduation happen to all teams.
?It?s the same for everybody so that makes it an equalizer,? Berhow said. ?I think we will be all right.?