KVL meet caps busy week for LHS golf
Crunch time begins today for the Lansing High golf team.
At 3 p.m. today the Lions will compete at the Perry Invitational, followed by a 8:30 a.m. Saturday meet at Anderson County. Then the Kaw Valley League meet rolls around at 1 p.m. Monday at Painted Hills Golf Course in Kansas City, Kan.
The three tournaments come in rapid-fire fashion. After that comes the Class 5A regional meet at Lake Shawnee in Topeka. After that lies either state or an early summer vacation.
To put things simply, there's not much time left and LHS golf coach Bill Pekarek said his squad has plenty of work to do in the next few days if it wants to challenge for a league title or a state berth.
"Our best team score for the year is a 347," Pekarek said, "and that's not very good. "I was hoping by now that we might be able to be shooting about 330 or 325. That's what you've really got to do to compete in 4A, and I know in 5A it's probably another step up. You've got to shoot 310 or 315 to do any good, so I'm just hoping we can turn it on right here when it matters."
Pekarek said he has plenty of reasons to be optimistic that the Lions can rise to the occasion. For one thing, they made their major push at exactly this time last year. In addition, a few LHS golfers have taken major strides in recent weeks. The one who has stood out the most has been junior Andrew Cameron.
"He's starting to hit more greens," Pekarek said of Cameron. "He has the lowest stoke average (for putting) per hole, and he's done that all year long. Most of the time it hasn't been his putting that's holding him back. He hadn't been hitting greens."
Pekarek also cited the improved play of freshman Maria Jackson, sophomore Stefan Froelich and junior Javen Kelly as additional reasons to believe the Lions are ready for a strong finish.
Pekarek said he has been a little concerned that senior Chris Nelson hasn't put together a big round yet this year. His scores steadily have dropped to the low 80s and high 70s, but he hasn't had a round of 76 or 77 that he produced consistently last year.
Nelson already has played in the maximum amount of allowed tournaments this season, so Pekarek must hold him out today and Saturday so he can play in the league meet. Pekarek said he hopes the week off will give Nelson a chance to refocus and gear up to fire a low score.
"He really hasn't played to what he's capable of yet, but I think now maybe he can focus more on his practice time and try to improve every little part of his game before that league tournament," Pekarek said. "He knows going into that tournament that he's one of the top players in the league and he has a chance to win league if he shoots like he's capable of shooting."