MORRIS – When it comes to golf, the lower number is usually best way to go.
In the case of the Morris boys golf team, though, it’s a high number that has coach Matt Lafond excited. The Redskins have 20 players in the program entering the 2014 season, and a bulk of those are freshmen or sophomores.
“When I see numbers like that, I think future,” Lafond said. “That’s not to take anything away from our seniors and juniors. They are very good golfers. But, to see this many freshmen and sophomores that are out, and that are good golfers, is exciting.”
The seniors for the Redskins this season are Dalton Onsen, Hailey Hoagland, Kendall Enger and Gabe Sajnaj, and they will be four of the eight that Lafond will count as members of the varsity team. The other four spots are very much up for grabs, with juniors Nick McPherson and Nick Bomono and sophomores Jake Hulbert and Dylan Callahan in the mix heading into today’s season-opening match at Dwight.
“Of course, that could all change three weeks into the season,” Lafond said. “We make changes throughout the year based on how they play in practice and how they do in competition. Sometimes, you get that player that hits an extra gear when the competition starts and just has that extra focus or concentration.
“We have a lot of talented players. We just have to make sure we find the ones that are the most consistent with that talent.”
One thing that will help the Redskins this season is the presence of Morris Country Club professional John Keegan, who has been instrumental in giving the Morris team aid whenever he can.
“Help is an understatement for what Mr. Keegan has done for us,” Lafond said. “He makes sure we get time on the course, even if he has another event going on. He will work around us, and that is such a big help for us.
“And, I have seen a lot of our kids playing out here this summer, which is good. Even if they aren’t playing, if they are working out here, just being around the game and talking about it and listening to others talk about it, it all helps out. I can see it in the improvement of the kids.”
Lafond hopes to see continued improvement throughout the season from his young group.
“Of course, every team is looking for that weekend of Oct. 18th, the state tournament,” he said. “Realistically, I think we have a very good shot at getting out of the regional, then we will see what happens. In the conference, we have the power schools of Kaneland, DeKalb and Yorkville, but we have some individuals that have some high expectations and I don’t think they are wrong about that. I think we can advance some guys pretty far.
“And, we have the young guys below that will be pushing all year. That will be nice to see, because competition tends to bring out the best in players. If you are getting pushed, you better push back because you might lose a spot.”