LEWISBURG — The Tri-County North Panthers are launching the 2016 golf season with high hopes and expectations for a Cross-County Championship.
“We struggled last year,” said coach Tyler Jewell. “The kids really worked hard this summer, and I think this will be a different season. We have a few new golfers this year that are really going to be a help for us.”
Five lettermen return for coach Jewell. Seniors Zach Tincher and Brett Booso are the two top players on the roster. Also returning are Bailey Lairson and Brandon Parsons, who were varsity last year. Sophomore Preston Lairson is the fifth letterman on the team coming back to improve his game.
Tincher and Booso are the captains this year. “I’ve played golf for four years now,” Tincher said. “We have two incoming freshmen — I want to get them ready for the game, teach them the rules and the etiquette of the game. I’m used to the pressure. I went to the district tournament my sophomore year, and I want to go to districts again.”
Two freshmen, Ethan Kelley and Alex Wayman, are expected to make the top six on the varsity roster.
“These guys have played on their own for several years with their parents and grandparents,” Jewell said. “As of now, they are going to fill the number three and number four spots on the varsity lineup. They are already stepping up, shooting well. Their biggest concern is consistency. That is something Zach and Brett have down. If the new kids can establish consistency, that will determine what kind of season we will have.”
Sophomores Preston Lairson and Spencer Brehm will round out the roster.
“Our theme for this year is ‘purpose,’” said Jewell. “We’ve thought about it this year. We want to have a purpose to aim for, and we want to finish first. We should be able to finish in the top five in the CCC. There are 13 teams in the conference, so it’s going to be tough. Ansonia, Tri-Village, and Miami East are tough to beat, but if we can have our eight solid golfers consistently, and of those eight, have four that can score under 50, we can do it.
“In the CCC, to average about 45 gives you a good chance of winning your matches.”
Tri-County North opened the regular season with a trip to the Eaton Country Club for the Preble County Tournament on Monday, Aug. 8. On Thursday, Aug. 11, the Panthers were on the road against Brookville, followed by the CCC Preview Tournament on Friday, Aug. 12, at Stillwater Valley Golf Club, hosted by Bradford High School.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH