Park Rapids boys golf team using season to build foundation for future success
Jim Weinzierl knows this will be a rebuilding year for the Park Rapids boys golf team.
Of the 21 golfers who played in a varsity meet last season, only five return this spring. Of those five, only two played in more than one meet. There are only 15 golfers in the entire high school who are competing in golf this spring. None of those 15 is a senior.
"With only a couple of letterwinners back, this is going to be a rebuilding year," said Weinzierl. "We're going to be a really young team, but I'm excited about the caliber of play of our young golfers."
Looking to lead the Panthers this season are the two returning letterwinners: juniors Ryan O'Mara and Alex Holmen.
O'Mara shot a 98 at the subsection tournament for the Panthers' third best score and ended the season with a 100.50 average in six 18-hole meets. O'Mara's best round was a 91.
Holmen played four 18-hole rounds and finished the season with a 104.80 average with a low of 100.
Competing for the other varsity spots will be juniors Ben Breitweser, Samuel Cole, Cody Larson and Anthony Schmid; sophomores Jason Dennis, Jacob Froelich and Luke Swenson; and freshmen Edwin Carlson, Sam Coborn, Sam Goebel, Zachary O'Hern, Levi Stevenson and Cole Tretbar.
Coborn (106), Tretbar (110) and Breitweser (148) played in one varsity meet last season.
The Panthers return to play in the Mid-Minnesota Conference and Section 8AA ranks. The conference will have a new look with all eight teams from the East and West combining to play in four 18-hole tournaments with the top four teams and top 10 individuals advancing to the conference championship.
Weinzierl is hoping his young team can improve enough by the end of the season to top last year's 405 at the Mid-State Conference meet and 384 at the subsection meet.
"We're going to get better as we go along," said Weinzierl, who will be assisted by Tadd Usher. "We don't have a lot of kids, but we have a great group of kids to work with. I think we'll be OK this year. I expect to see a lot of improvement from this group. This team is going to be very competitive in the future."