BLHS golf squad looking for new leaders to emerge
As the Basehor-Linwood golf team prepares to tee off next week in the first tournament of the season, coaches are looking for the player who will lead the team.
They are looking for leaders to emerge from a group of players who have watched others set the tone in recent seasons. In that way, this season has a different feel for coach Bruce Courtney.
“This year we have a lot of kids who have been with us a while, and now they get the chance to be on varsity and see how they can handle that,” he said.
Seniors Gabe Vlasic and Caleb Johnson have performed well in practice and have done a nice job of leading the younger players, Courtney said.
“Gabe has spent a lot of time playing and is working really hard early in the season,” Courtney said. “Caleb is another senior who is working really hard.”
Alec Ottig returns for his sophomore season after playing some varsity golf last year. In addition, Brett Fritz, Neil Dickenson and Hayden Morris are among players who could see time on varsity.
Courtney also had praise for newcomer Brady Blackwood. A senior, this is Blackwood’s first year on the golf team. He brings high-level competitive experience as a cross country standout at BLHS, and Courtney said Blackwood was showing a lot of promise.
The Bobcats are replacing a group of seniors that included Bobby Courtney, coach Courtney’s son. In addition, Aaron Williams — who played in the state tournament last year as a freshman — is now attending Tonganoxie High School.
The departures have created opportunities for new players to step up and compete.
“We have plenty of room for younger kids to get a chance to shine,” Courtney said. “This is the first time in years of doing this that we have not had those kids start off on varsity for us as a freshman and form the good center core of the team. This is more a group of kids that have put in their time and effort. Now it is their time to shine.”
In some ways, it has been a little more difficult to get a feel for this team early in the season because of inclement weather. Courtney also was helping coach the girls basketball team to the Class 4A state tournament during the first week of golf practice.
“Right now, the players are all a little rusty and not quite settled into the game from a consistency standpoint,” Courtney said.
Basehor-Linwood plays at 3 p.m. today at the Bonner Springs Invitational and again Monday, April 4, at Gardner-Edgerton.