By Mike Deak
WARSAW – In the final installment of our 2020 spring sports season previews, IFN hits the golf course to overview boys golf.
The Warsaw Tigers had themselves quite a season in 2019, running all the way to the IHSAA State Finals in finishing 14th in the final standings. The team was helped by then-senior Chase Byron and then-freshman Cal Hoskins. The two were the most consistent low scorers for the team. Hoskins had the best two-day finish for the Tigers, shooting a 76-80-156 to place in a tie for 31st in the individual standings. Byron would shoot 12 strokes higher with a two-day total of 168.
Hoskins shot a 73 in the sectional and then a 75 in the regional to help Warsaw to third-place finishes in both rounds. The Tigers were undefeated in the Northern Lakes Conference round robin, but couldn’t catch Plymouth to parlay a split of the conference title with the Pilgrims. With the return of Zach LaLonde for his senior season as well as underclassmen Jack Yeager and Tucker Carlile, Warsaw was primed to remain atop the golf conversation.
Triton narrowly missed the regional round, taking fourth at the Warsaw Sectional despite Chase Butler’s regional qualifying 74. While Butler has since graduated, Triton was looking forward to the leadership of the like of Cole McKinney as well as new head coach Blake Schori.
NorthWood and Wawasee both had tough runs in the tournament series, NorthWood taking sixth place at the Northridge Sectional while Wawasee was seventh at Warsaw. The Warriors were planning on returning its No. 1 player, senior Zach Leedy, as well as classmate Evan Dippon. The Panthers had senior Keaton Kitson as well as sophomore Cooper Wiens among the options for returning positions.
Tippecanoe Valley’s Cade Brouyette was one stroke away from regional qualification last year, shooting a 76 at Rozella Ford for his sectional round. Earlier in the year on the same course, Brouyette posted the best round in the Three Rivers Conference to stand as conference medalist. The senior signed on with Indiana Wesleyan to continue his golf career.
Zach Leedy, Wawasee: “I have stayed sharp for the season by using the simulator in my basement, rolling putts in my bedroom, and hitting pitches in my backyard. I have tried to do anything related to golf at my house since school has gone to eLearning. I feel that the season being canceled makes me better appreciate the experience I had for playing golf for three years at Wawasee. It is surreal that my last high school competition occurred last season and I didn’t even know it. It is also disappointing knowing that I won’t be able to compete for Wawasee again. I will come out of this experience knowing to enjoy every moment and opportunity, and never take anything for granted. If I continue playing golf in college, I will compete every time like it is my last because you never know when it actually will be your last.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I got to play golf for Wawasee. I will always remember and be forever grateful for the relationships I built with teammates, coaches, and competitors.”
Keaton Kitson, NorthWood: “How I stayed sharp is by looking over what we did last year and started looking at what we can do differently. I am also trying to see as we as a team can do differently. For example, if it’s more team bonding or if it’s more short game work stations. But for me personally it’s trying to really dig in and tell myself it’s my senior year let’s go out with the best season we have ever had. I feel that this will put more meaning with “don’t take things for granted” quote. I personally will not take for granted our golf team as well my being in school. This will change how I look at life and other things in general as well.
“I felt terrible when I heard we no longer could play spring sports. I was looking forward to play one more year of high school golf and it didn’t work out. But I know that God has a plan and what he is doing will be worth it.”
Cade Brouyette, Tippecanoe Valley: “I am staying sharp during this time by practicing around my house with wedges and such and then getting to the golf course when I can! I try to practice everyday. I feel like I’ll come out of this situation stronger because I’m getting some good quality practice and realizing I have to now get ready for college golf. My reaction to the decision was a little disappointed but also understanding because the safety of others is more important than sports.”