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Cougars again field area's top golf team
"It's spring.Baseball, beauty bark, birdies and bogeys.The golf teams at high schools in Central Kitsap have dusted off the clubs and are mushing their way through sodden courses as the 2000 season begins.Here's a glimpse at the hopes and aspirations of local teams through the eyes of their coaches:CENTRAL KITSAPSecond-year coach Paul Stensen will lead a veteran team at CKHS that includes five returning state tournament qualifiers. Last year's Cougar squad had no seniors.Stensen said the Hanson sisters are among the premiere players in Kitsap County.Carlee is only sophomore, Stensen said, but she is really concentrating on golf this year.Her older sister Haylee, a senior, has gone to the state tournament twice. She also plays volleyball and basketball and is just now beginning to concentrate on golf. Her natural aptitude for the game is beginning to shine. She is very strong and very competitive, Stensen said. She is in good mid-season form.Among his boy players, Stensen has been impressed with sophomore John Hausdorf.He has a good all-around game. He has good course management, Stensen said. But he will get stiff competition from Dylan Robbins. Dylan is already pushing John. John is consistent, and Dylan has the natural ability. He has good technique and a good knowledge of the game. He'll be in the low 70s.Another strong returning player is junior Andrew Sargent.Stensen had 32 students try out for the team and 13 made the cut - nine boys and four girls.The team has 12 dual matches scheduled and already played well in a recent jamboree in Sequim.I think we are going to be one of the teams to beat, Stensen said, along with Port Angeles and Bainbridge Island. C.J. (Hanson) is the best in the league of any of the girls.KING'S WESTEmil Heinze ought to know something about golf at King's West School - he's the only golf coach the school has ever had.Fifteen golfers tried out for the program this year, including one girl.Heinze said his best linksman is senior Kyle Morrison, who placed seventh last year at the state A/B tournament.He has distance. He is working on the other aspects of his game as well, Heinze said. You can't be a good golfer without having all aspects working.According to Heinze, Morrison, a two-year letter winner, performs well under pressure.Another top player will be senior David Symonds, who played golf as a sophomore but not as a junior. Heinze said Symonds has been working at Gold Mountain Golf Course and that will improve his game.He's 3 to 5 strokes off Kyle, Heinze said. He'll be pushing him a lot. They play together a lot. They are good competitors.Heinze said Symonds is a long hitter too. He can get hot and play very well at times. He's a dangerous player on a hot streak.Just behind Symonds in the early going is junior Kurtis Freisen.His strength is his dedication and his love for the game, Heinze said. He's getting bigger and stronger.Heinze is looking forward to working with sophomore Megan Skeen.She's the first girl out that has played golf before, he said. She has some skills. It has taken some extra determination to be out there. She has a good attitude and is even-tempered.Heinze's team was third at the district tournament last year after a 3-7 dual meet record in the Sea-Tac League. He said Bush School and Seattle Academy will be tough programs in the league this year.Other players that Heinze said should make contributions include juniors Cory Boblet and Garrett Anderson and freshman Aaron Treger.KLAHOWYA Second-year coach Todd Winters hopes to see continued improvement in the fledgling golf program at Klahowya. He measures that improvement by the number of students trying out - last year 10, this year 21. Only 14 made the cut.Winters has high hopes as his team negotiates the fairways, sand traps and water hazards around Kitsap County.One returning player is a veteran of the state tournament last year. Junior Vanessa Rucker has impressed Winters early.She did go to state and could definitely make it back this year, Winters said. She has stick-to-it-iveness. She is a hard worker that has spent a lot of time on her swing.Another top returner is senior Jesse Rickabaugh, who Winters says shoots in the low 40s and has a chance to make state.Another top player with state aspirations is Miles Crowder, a junior. And, Winters said, junior Fred Wrigley could bring his game around this year with some practice.Winters is counting on five newcomers to balance out his team. Greg Johnson, Derek Templeton, Dru Ludwig and Andrew Matty are new to the team, along with Matt Rausch.All of these guys will be making it into different matches, Winters said. They will be the heart and soul (of our program) for the next couple of years if they can stay with it. Winters was encouraged about a recent jamboree in Sequim where three of his golfers shot in the 40s. My kids need to get used to not worrying about who they are playing with and just play within themselves, Winters said. They play against a lot of scratch golfers, but my kids aren't there yet.The school's home course is Golf Mountain. Their next match is Thursday, March 23 against King's West at Kitsap Golf and Country Club.OLYMPICThough Olympic High School golf coach Darryl Gellert has no returning golfers with state tournament experience, he has a bevy of long hitters who could make some noise on local courses this spring.Gellert has five returning letter winners, each with different strength and areas that need improvement. Perhaps his top player is senior Devin Ryan.He hits a long tee ball, Gellert said. That's definitely his strength.Gellert said that Ryan should be challenged by junior Chris Piercy, who may not be as long off the tee as Ryan, but who brings other strengths to the course.He manages his game real well, Gellert said. He has good irons.Another player out who has just completed the basketball season is sophomore Geoff Kelstrup.He has improved a lot, Gellert said. He is solid all the way through, although no one part of his game stands out.Length off the tee appears like it will be a strength for the Trojans this year, especially for sophomore Scott Lake.Gellert also continues to be impressed with senior Garrett Godfrey, who transferred from King's West two years ago.His iron play is his strength, Gellert said.One the newcomers on the team Gellert has been watching is freshman Ian Exum.He's kind of wild, but he hits the ball a long way, Gellert said. He could be a player in a few years.The only girl out this year has pressed her golf game in high gear, Gellert said. With limited golfing experience and a set of clubs she received as a Christmas gift, senior Janelle Gilles fired a 43 recently.That's great for someone who's only been at it for three months, Gellert said.According to Gellert, slamming the ball off the tee and getting to the green with good iron play should not hinder his team this year. But use of the smallest club in the bag could.Everyone needs to work on their putting at this level, he said.Gellert likes his teams chances a lot.We should be able to compete with anybody, he said. But CK will be tough."