Golf: Boys should be ‘competitive;’ girls are rookies

Scott Swanson

After finishing a somewhat disappointing third last season in their final year in the Val-Co League, Sweet Home’s boys are back to take another shot, this time in a new league.

In its first year as a Sky-Em school, Sweet Home is fielding a senior-dominated team that Coach Tom Horn said he expects to be “competitive.”

“This is not the best team I’m ever going to have but it’s not the worst,” he said. “I expect us to be in contention in our league. It’s a new league and we should be fighting for second.”

Back from last year are several seniors and a junior, Mike Fontenot, who is the only returning Husky with state experience.

Fontenot is a two-year letter winner who finished in a tie for seventh in the league last year.

“He’s grown considerably and he can hit the ball farther,” Horn said. “He couldn’t hit it out of his shadow last year. He’s hitting it pretty good and he’s always been pretty good around the greens.”

He said he expects Fontenot and senior Jason Rice, another two-year letterman, to compete for the No. 1 position on the team.

“I said last year that Jason was ready for a break-out year, but he struggled a little bit,” Horn said. “But he’s so mature and confident now I expect Jason to have a really good year.”

The rest of the team could consist of any combination of five other seniors, he said.

“The seniors are all pretty much the same.”

Returning first-year letter winners are Blake Martin and Cody Daniels, the latter of whom has solidified his game, Horn said. Roman Kinney and Kyle Hamilton are moving up from the junior varsity, and Zach Miller has decided to forego baseball for golf.

“He’s been a pleasant surprise,” Horn said. “He can strike that thing.”

Two other players who may content for playing time on the varsity are sophomore Sten Weld, who played JV as a freshman, and sophomore Casey Horner, who is moving over from baseball, but has golf experience.

Weld is “showing something this year,” Horn said. “I’m pleased and impressed with him.”

Horner’s stepfather is a “good golf player and it shows,” he said. “(Horner’s) got experience and he can really hit it far.”

Horn said there are no players who look dominant thus far.

“I don’t have any really good, but not any real bad players,” he said. “We don’t have a Number One who has jumped out there.”

The rest of the team is made up of sophomore Christian Porter and freshmen Michael Tolle, Austin Yoder and Caleb Pelletier, who are all rookies, he said.

The Huskies open their season Tuesday, March 15, at Mallard Creek, followed by a tournament Wednesday, March 16, at Crooked River Ranch.

Horn said the new league means Sweet Home will play some different courses this year. All six schools in the league have golf teams. He expects Junction City to be the class of the league, but said the No. 2 spot is up for grabs.

“It’s a really good schedule,” he said. “We won’t be outclassed by any of them. It should be good competition. I’m looking for a good season for these guys.”

Girls Golf

Horn said he has four golfers on the girls team, all sophomores and all new to the game.

The four are Alana Long, Lindsey Martin, Kristin Peterson and Belen Toscano.

Though none has played before, he sees potential.

“Alana is a good athlete who is a soccer player and Lindsey was a softball player last year and plays volleyball. She’s athletic and decided to give golf a try.”

Peterson “has potential, but golf is a hard game and it takes a while,” Horn said. “I like what she’s shown this year.”

Toscano has never been involved in athletics, he said, “but she’s smart and she picks things up fast. She’s analytical. She’s going to be all right.”

The good news for the rookies is that the girls season doesn’t begin until April 11.

“That gives us time to get going,” Horn said. “This is a learning year for us. These are all first-year players. We’re not in contention. We are just hoping we can have all four play all year long and start to build something for those kids.”