The Peninsula High boys golf team is returning nearly all of its key contributors from last year, and the Seahawks are expecting marked improvement.
First-year head coach Jason Swaser, who comes from the White River School District, has high hopes.
“My expectations are for the kids to do well in matches and really compete in every match that they play,” he said. “To not only go out there and just play golf, but really compete and be ambassadors of our community as far as the golf course is concerned.”
Senior captains Adam Barker and Austin Edwards, as well as junior Alec Charles, will lead the team.
Barker has set the bar high for himself this year.
“My personal goals are to try to finish like I did last year at state, maybe try to improve a little bit,” he said. “And just to play some good matches going into districts and get my confidence up so I can play well in districts.”
Barker and Charles provide Swaser with an experienced and skilled top duo as they took the top two spots at the district tournament last year.
“I’m really good buddies with Alec,” Barker said. “We’ve been playing golf together for a really long time.
“We’ve kind of motivate each other,” he added. “Alec and I combine for a good amount of points. I’m pretty optimistic our team will be able to get some wins, and we can get some other people running with me and Alec, and they can score some points, because I know that me and Alec are going to motivate each other to get some points.”
Edwards said the rest of the team also is working hard to improve.
“We just want to get better as a whole,” he said. “We have a lot of newcomers starting off this year. We want them to just keep improving and work on the different fundamentals of the game and to beat the other teams.”
Edwards said the team’s youth is a reason for optimism.
“We’re so young, we’re just beginning,” he said. “Most of the younger guys are just beginning right now. We’ve still got a long ways to go, and hopefully by next year, maybe two years from now, we’ll improve to an undefeated season.”
Swaser said he’s implemented an offseason program for the team so they can take advantage of the long summer days to improve their games.
“I create a spreadsheet of things they need to accomplish by the time they show up next fall,” he said. “They’ll be a bunch of putting drills, chipping drills, driver, getting their distances written down, things like that in the grid. Then they need to check it off to show me that they’ve actually been practicing instead of just telling me.”
Swaser said there are three words that sum up the approach he wants the athletes to take on — citizenship, perseverance and integrity.
“Those are the three words we kind of focus on whenever we play, whenever we’re out on an opposing course,” he said. “Those words are really the backbone of our program.”Reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.