GRATIS — The Preble Shawnee golf team will begin the 2016 season in full swing. With seven total players, the Arrows look for high rankings and top performances in order to make a challenge for the SWBL crown.
Head Coach Roy Lucas brings back two lettermen, juniors Michael Fritts and Craig Doty, to lead the team.
“Things went really well last year for us,” said Lucas. “We had the number one player in Kyle Fryer, who shot in the mid-40s for nine holes throughout the season, and he was a big help for the team. With a player like that, the team just fell in place.
“Our team record last year wasn’t that great, as we finished in the middle of the conference standings in both the team duals and the tournament,” Lucas added. “But Fryer really carried the team. We lost two seniors to graduation, and a senior whom I expected to come back will not return. Fritts was the Most Improved Player last year. He has developed really well. Doty is improving every day, and I’m glad to have him back.”
The Arrows have no seniors on the team this year. This will be a building season for the Arrows, as five players join the program raw and inexperienced.
“At the varsity level, it’s good to have someone who knows the game. But that can be taught during the season if the kids are improving,” Lucas said.
The team has grown in numbers; Shawnee only had five players last year.
Michael Fritts is expected to be a team leader for this season.
“I expect this year to be exciting,” said Fritts. “There is a lot of room for improvement for all of us, especially for myself and Craig Doty. I want to be an impact for the new players.
“Last year, everyone looked up to Kyle, he was really good — so I hope not to disappoint this year.”
Doty is excited to swing the clubs again after only playing the game of golf for three years.
“I’m not worried about any pressures, I just focus on having fun,” Doty said. “I have goals for myself, in aiming for shooting par. I have to work at it.” On thinking about the newer players, Doty was reminiscent of his earlier years. “It’s difficult. I was in their shoes not long ago, so I can relate.”
The new players include juniors Gabriel “Gabby” Batsche, Jarod Barnes, Jordan Dobbins, and Dakota Keeler.
Also joining the team is freshman Luke Woodard.
The Arrows completed the Ryder Cup scrimmage event on Aug. 4. The Ryder Cup was a non-scoring event for fun with all SWBL teams participating. The first regular season match for Preble Shawnee was the Preble County Tournament on Aug. 8, at the Eaton Country Club against Tri-County North, National Trail, Eaton, and Twin-Valley South. The Arrows finished in fifth place. Following up on Tuesday was a home match against Franklin.Franklin won the 9 hole match with an 184 Preble Shawnee 241.
“I hae seen a lot of improvement for the players since the first match of the season,” said coach Lucas. “We need to work out some bugs, but they are on the right track. Low medalist for Franklin was MD Curtis with a 43, while low medalist for Preble Shawnee was Luke Woodard with a 55. Other Preble Shawnee scores Michael Fritts 57, Jordan Dobbins 62, Craig Doty 64, Dakota Keebler 67, and Jarod Barnes 69.
This Friday, the Arrows will be at a tournament the Ridge Classic at Kitty Hawk.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH.