Veteran Kernels set for season
The Mitchell High School boys golf team won't be lacking for experience this season.
The Kernels return five players from last year's team that placed 15th at the Class AA state tournament. The five are all seniors or juniors and coach Mark Horan expects the veteran lineup to produce this season.
"We are getting some good leadership out of these guys and a lot of them played in the SDGA Junior tour this summer," Horan said. "We are thinking we are going to be improved this year."
Senior Ethan Huber was the top finisher for the Kernels last year, tying for 35th at state. Junior Max Dailey tied for 68th place. Senior Nick Bennett, junior Max Tupper and junior Kade Clark also competed at state for the Kernels last season.
The Kernels opened practice on Monday and Horan noticed the summer spent playing on the SDGA tour has paid dividends.
"Max Dailey and Ethan Huber look really good and actually Kade Clark has had a real good first three days of practice," said Horan, who has 15 total golfers on varsity and expects close to 30 when the middle schoolers start later this month.
Where do the Kernels need to improve the most?
"A lot of little areas," Horan said. "But some course management skills, some short game chipping, putting skills we need to get a little better. Getting the ball in play off the tee, some guys have a little trouble doing that once in a while. So we are working on all the different facets."
The Kernels will jump right into the action next week. Mitchell plays three times in four days next week to open the season. The Kernels begin the season at the Sioux Falls Washington Invitational on Monday and the Brandon Valley Invitational on Tuesday. The Kernels will play on Thursday in Huron.
"We are just getting a bunch of competitive play right away and a lot of exposure," Horan said. "The one up in Huron is a dual. We play 12 kids up there. So we are getting a lot of kids experience up there."
In the Eastern South Dakota Conference, Horan expects Yankton, Pierre and Aberdeen Central to be the favorites. He anticipates Sioux Falls O'Gorman and Rapid City Stevens to be the statewide favorites.