Posted 4/04/12 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
Scott Wisness, head coach of the Watford City boys golf team, knows that with the loss of Nick Liebel and Chris Larsen due to graduation, he is going to be looking for some young players to step up and take the leadership roles if the Wolves are going to have a successful golf season.
“Nick and Chris were the leaders of our golf team the past few years,” states Wisness. “But with no seniors on this year’s squad, it is going to give some other golfers the chance to step up and fill the leadership roles.”
There is no doubt that the absence of Liebel will be felt as he was last year’s North Dakota Senior Athlete of the Year and helped guide the Wolves to a second place finish at Region and a trip to the state tournament.
But even though Wisness is lacking senior golfers, he is by no means short of experienced players.
“Alex Hansen, a junior, and Colter Maki and Mitchell Liebel, both sophomores, have competed at the state tournament the past two years,” states Wisness. “All three have put a lot of time in at the golf course this past summer and have the potential to be in the top in the region. They each have the potential to score in the 70s at any meet, and if they can do that consistently, our golf team will be hard to beat.”
According to Wisness, Beau Heiser, a freshman who ended the season on varsity last year and had a great second day at the state tournament, is also expected to be a contributor to this year’s team.
Others golfers that will be challenging for varsity spots include junior, Brandon Taylor; freshmen, Charles Villanueva and Keegan Thompson; and 8th graders, Korbin Knutson and Brandon Sandvik.
“I’m very excited about the start of a new golf season and we hope to continue the momentum of our successful season last year,” states Wisness. “The nice spring weather will work to our advantage as we have quite a few meets scheduled. And these early meetings will give these young golfers the opportunity to gain some varsity experience as the season goes along.”
“Our team goal this season is to place in the top three in the region and to qualify for State,” says Wisness. “Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood and Lewis and Clark (Berthold) will again be the top two teams to beat in the region. Both teams return most of their team that were on top most of the season last year.”
Which, according to Wisness, has Watford City, Stanley, Divide County and Ray battling for that third spot.
“Mitchell, Alex and Colter have individual goals to place in the top 10 in the region,” says Wisness. “If they each can do that and our other young golfers gain experience, we should be right at the top in the region.”
The Wolves boys team will open its 2012 season on April 17 when they compete in the Killdeer Invitational.