For the past five seasons, the Barton men’s golf team has occupied the same spot at the Jayhawk Conference Championships.
Fifth place has been that spot. The past two years, Barton was a single stroke from fourth.
This is the year Coach Doug Kaiser looks to finally break into that top four. Hopefully more.
“I think we are ready to compete on the next tier in our conference,” Coach Kaiser said. “We have been around that four and five spot for a few years now and I think we have the team to finish higher than that.”
The Cougars will start the fall portion of the schedule Monday and Tuesday at the Salina Country Club in the Kansas Wesleyan Invitational.
The Cougars are armed with two of their top golfers back from last season. Sophomores Kylian Cavdar and Thitipong Homruen.
Last season Cavdar, from France, finished in the Top 10 at the Jayhawk Championships. In fact, he was one spot from fifth heading into the final day before slipping to ninth.
Homruen had to withdraw from the conference championships after one round, but was one of the Cougars top golfers during the season. He finished fourth at both regular season conference meets.
That gives Coach Kaiser two solid pieces to build around.
Three more sophomores dot the roster as well in Great Bend High products Chance Haney and Mitch Johnson as well as Augusta’s Jacob Uhrmacher.
Joining Cavdar on the Barton roster from France this season will be freshmen Adrien Bonnett and Oscar Elfvin.
Coach Kaiser is looking for big things from a couple of Kanas freshman as well, including a Great Bend freshman Kelby Titus.
Last season Titus finished tied for 10th at the Class 5A state tournament with a 5-over par 75. Jacob Roth was just two strokes back of Titus golfing for Maize High School.
“Those two can play scratch golf,” Coach Kaiser. “They should contribute in a big way to our team. We are probably as deep with quality talent as we’ve been since I’ve been coaching.
We looking forward to the season. I want to see the kids challenge themselves to see just how good we can be as a group.”
The Cougars have five meets this fall. After playing in Salina, the Cougars will play on consecutive Mondays and Tuesdays at Turkey Creek in McPherson, Dub’s Dread in Kansas City, and Pine Springs in Tyler, Texas.
The fall slate will conclude Oct. 30 at the Barton Invitational at StoneRidge here in Great Bend.