While only one golfer has state tournament experience on the Ellinwood High School boys’ team, most of the players have at least seen the Class 2A tournament in action.
“Last year, Jared Oelke qualified for the tourament,” Ellinwood head coach Greg Maxwell said. “We had three or four of the others there to watch.
“We wanted them there together to get them hungry for the chance. We tried to create the scenario of watching the team scores come in and get the mind-set that this could be you guys.”
It must have worked.
The Eagles finished third at a regional tournament to advance to Monday’s state tournament at Seneca-Spring Creek Golf course in Seneca. The tournament begins at 9 a.m.
Oelke finished seventh at the regional.
“Jared was our No. 1 golfer this year,” Maxwell said. “He has the experience competing at state. I expect that Jared, Gavin (Vink) and Ryley Ney could each compete for a medal.”
Vink finished fourth at the regional Ellinwood hosted. He beat Ney in a playoff.
The last time that the Eagles qualified as a team was 2004.
“I’ve coached here 13 years and this is the fourth time we’ve gone as a team,” Maxwell said. “This year, we have a very young team going.”
The team has one junior, four sophomores and one freshman.
“We’ve been working with those kids since they were in middle school,” Maxwell said. “They’ve gotten better each year. They have stayed on track to achieve their goals all year long.”
Maxwell said that while his team’s strengths will help them in any course, Seneca-Springs will give them a challenge.
“As a team, we want to shoot as low as we can on a foreign course,” Maxwell said. “This one has a lot of length. There will be some struggles with that.
“We practice on a short course, so our short game is good. We’ve practiced our irons and putting, but we haven’t worked on distance much this year.”