Willcott leads LHS golf to 4th at Mill Valley
Lansing High junior Ryan Willcott started his season buried on the junior varsity for the third year in a row, but a strong mid-season push has him playing some of the best golf on the varsity team.
Willcott broke into the varsity ranks April 24 at Iola. Then he earned another shot when he performed well in Lansing's weekly playoff during practice.
Willcott again stepped up April 26 when he fired a team-best round of 83 and placed ninth overall at the Mill Valley Invitational at Sycamore Ridge Golf Course in Spring Hill.
"He played a lot better in this tournament," LHS coach Bill Pekarek said. "That's the first time we've every played that course, and he played pretty well."
Mill Valley was the team champion with a four-person score of 321. Lawrence-Free State was second with a 337, Olathe Northwest was third with a 339 and LHS shot a 342.
Willcott consistently hit the fairways and greens. He struggled a bit with his putting, but Pekarek said Willcott did a good job considering it was his first time playing the course.
"That's the best he's played all year," Pekarek said.
Willcott wasn't the only one to turn in a solid round. Junior Stefan Froelich shot an 84 and senior Shawn Jung fired an 86.
Pekarek said the steady play of Willcott, Froelich and Jung allowed the Lions to place so high as a team.
"All three of those people didn't have any mega scores (triple bogeys), so that's better," Pekarek said. "If you can do that, you certainly are going to do a little bit better."
Maria Jackson and Andrew Cameron each shot an 89 and Zach Robinson rounded out the lineup with a 100.
Lansing plays at 3 p.m. today at the Perry Invitational and Saturday at Anderson County. After that, all that's left is the postseason.
The Kaw Valley League tournament begins at 1 p.m. Monday at Sunflower Hills Golf Course in Bonner Springs. It's a course the Lions know well. They won the Sunflower Invitational team title there on April 1.
Pekarek said that although the Lions consistently have shot better scores this year, they still have plenty of areas where they must get better if they hope to improve on last year's second-place league finish.
"Right now I'm more concerned with what we're shooting, he said. "I hope to get the right six people together for the league tournament, and then for the regional I'm hoping we can put it all together right here when it matters."