Posted 4/14/10 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
With warm temperatures finally arriving, the Watford City High School’s golf teams are ready to hit the course to open their 2010 seasons and LeRoy Bettenhausen and Scott Wisness, coaches, look forward to a good year.
Four letter winners will be returning to the Watford City High School girls golf team this year. The team opens its spring schedule with the Hazen Invitational on Tuesday, April 13 and Stanley Invitational on Saturday, April 17.
Returning to the team with experience are junior Karson Pederson, an individual state qualifier in 2009, sophomores Bessie Schmitz, Emilie Anderson and Shaunta Miller. Joining them are freshmen Allison Monsen, Taylor Dwyer, Fallon Maston, Jayden White Owl, Zoe Swenson and Maty Benth who will help fill out the team with a good junior high golf experience.
“We have a very young team as we lost seasoned golfer Krystle Folland to graduation,”states LeRoy Bettenhausen, girls’ head coach. “However, I think we will have a great season as the ladies are practicing hard, showing lots of enthusiasm and improving their skills daily.”
In practice, the Wolves have been working on chipping, mid-iron play and driving.
“We’ve been practicing for approximately two weeks and the ladies are anxious to begin competitive play,” Bettenhausen noted. “The Hazen Invitational should be a good meet for us as we will be facing tough competition on a course with lots of water hazards, which will make us play a controlled game.”
The Watford City Junior High girls golf team, according to Bettenhausen, will be returning one seasoned player, Sydney Slais, an eighth grader.
“Sydney is showing very good golf skills in her iron play and working hard in striking the ball,” notes Bettenhausen.
Newcomers joining Slais are eighth grader Tessa Dwyer and seventh graders Kasi Sorenson and Amanda Anderson.
“With only four junior high girls, they will see plenty of action and be able to improve their game throughout the season, notes Bettenhausen. “The junior high team will see action Monday, April 19, at the Northwest Conference Meet in Ray. “I am excited for this team to begin competition as they show a lot of promise.”
For Wisness, who is taking over the reigns as the new boys head coach, he will be having six players competing at the varsity level, while 11 junior high players will be competing for their chance to make the varsity squad.
“Seth Dougherty is the only varsity player that we lost to graduation from last year’s team so we are bringing back some experienced players,” states Wisness.
Nick Liebel, according to Wisness, is going to be his team leader.
“Liebel, a junior, finished second in State last year and should have his goals set higher this year,” states Wisness. “I don’t think he won any tournaments last year outright, but he tied for first in a couple and was almost always in the top five.”
Joining Liebel on the varsity team are fellow juniors Chris Larsen, Ryan Monsen and Tanner Wold and freshmen Alex Hansen and Kalen Hartel.
“Chris Larsen started to show some consistency towards the end of last year and this year we are looking to have him shooting between an 80 and 85 with the potential of being in the 70s,” states Wisness.
Tanner Wold and Ryan Monsen, according to Wisness, both competed some at the varsity level and he is hopeful that with their summer play they should now be capable of shooting in the 80s.
Wisness also believes that Hartel and Hansen should be able to compete for varsity spots and could be a factor for the varsity team this year.
Wisness also sees some big potential in two junior high players who have worked hard in the off season.
“Mitchell Liebel will be a good eighth grader as will be Colter Maki,” states Wisness. “Liebel spent a lot of time this summer playing and Maki can play well. But both of these two young golfers really need more tournament experience.”
Last year, the Watford City boys team was placing in second place in most of the tournaments that they played before placing in fourth at the NW Conference Meet and at the Regional Meet and missed qualifying as a team for the State Tournament.
“Our goal this year is to qualify for State as a team,” states Wisness.
The boys golf team will open its season on April 15 at the Heart River Inviational and then host their own meet on Monday, April 19.
This year a good goal would be to qualify the team for the state tournament.