Bison dominate home course, claim Coleman Invite golf title
When it comes to home-course advantages in Nebraska high school golf, the McCook Bison might have the ultimate benefit while hosting their annual Ron Coleman Invitational.
The McCook varsity and junior varsity teams played host 10 other schools Tuesday, April 19, in the annual prep boys golf test at the challenging Heritage Hills Golf Course. The Bison varsity simply blew away the rest of the field with a 30-stroke victory over Class A North Platte.
McCook placed five individuals in the top 10 medalist standings while recording a low team score of 316 strokes in the 18-hole event. North Platte was second with a 346, and Kearney shot 352 for third place.
Decatur Community of Oberlin, Kansas carded a 405 team score to finish 10th, and the McCook JV squad had a 437.
Backer claims gold medal
Sean Backer, a sophomore, took home the gold medal with a low total of 76 strokes. Backer had a 40 on the front nine and an even-par 36 on the back. Teammate Ben Vetrovsky, a senior, shot rounds of 39 and 40 for a 79 and third place in the individual standings.
Freshman Mack Alspaugh put together rounds of 39 and 41 for an 80 to place fifth, and Cory Dallam fired rounds of 38 and 43 for an 81 to place ninth.
Alan Goodenberger, McCook junior playing for the Bison JV squad, finished 10th overall with rounds of 37 and 45 for an 82.
Senior Drew Shields, McCook's fifth varsity competition, had an off-day with a 90, but Shields still finished 18th in the individual standings.
McCook's other JV scores included Ben Skiles with a 105, David Durner with a 123, Jake Wagner with a 127 and Daruis Bolli with a 134.
Chilly weather early
Tuesday started off with weather perhaps better suited for football than golf. McCook head coach Rick Haney said competitors faced chilly temperatures -- "You can-see-your-breath cold," Haney said -- heavy humidity and breezy conditions. With the unfavorable conditions, the Bison coach said his team set a goal of shooting under 320 for the day.
"The kids battled through the first several holes in those types of conditions, then managed to hit some better weather toward the end," Haney said, "and 316 is very good for today."
The chilly conditions early and the tough Heritage Hills layout can make for a long day on the golf course.
"This course here is very difficult from the aspect that it's not forgiving," Haney said, "It's set up with the ups and downs, the elevated greens and tees. If you can't keep it in the short grass, it's going to punish you."
Decatur Community of Oberlin was paced by Kade Brown, who finished seventh overall with rounds of 44 and 37 for an 81. Garrett Berry also finished 15th for the Devils with rounds of 47 and 39 for an 86.
District, state goals
McCook finished sixth in last year's Class B state golf championship tournament. The Bison will likely have their sights set on a better finish, and perhaps that top spot this year in Class B state competition next month at the Kearney Country Club. Of course, McCook will first have to qualify for state in the B-4 District meet May 17 at the Monument Shadows course in Gering.
The Bison have been shooting strong scores early this season, and Coach Haney is pleased with his team's effort so far.
"Right now we're where I would hope we would be," he said. "You hate to go into anything with expectations because simply you're setting yourself up for disappointment. You certainly have hopes and you certainly have goals, and we set our goals pretty high, and the kids are working very hard.
"Our primary goal is to go to districts and win districts and get to state, and bring home a high place in state. What that place will be will be predicated, of course, on the two days we have (at state), and if we can put together two good rounds and have four solid scores each of those two days. That's yet to be seen. We definitely have that in our sights."
RON COLEMAN INVITATIONAL
Tuesday at Heritage Hills Golf Course
|2. North Platte||346|
|10. Decatur Comm. (Kansas)||405|
|11. Colby (Kansas)||417|
|12. McCook JV||437|
Top 15 Individual Medalists
(Ties broken by scorecard playoff)
|1. Sean Backer, McCook||76|
|2. Cameron Bagnall, North Platte||78|
|3. Ben Vetrovsky, McCook||79|
|4. Tyler Zoellner, Ogallala||80|
|5. Mack Alspaugh, McCook||80|
|6. Chet Wallace, Kearney||81|
|7. Kade Brown, Decatur Comm.||81|
|8. Jonas Christensen, York||81|
|9. Cory Dallam, McCook||81|
|10. Alan Goodenberger, McCook||82|
|11. Evan Norton, York||85|
|12. Shad Wellman, Lexington||85|
|13. James Osborn, Kearney||85|
|14. Trev Flanders, North Platte||85|
|15. Garrett Berry, Decatur Comm.||86|
McCook Individual Scores
|Sean Backer||40 - 36 -- 76|
|Ben Vetrovsky||39 - 40 -- 79|
|Mack Alspaugh||39 - 41 -- 80|
|Cory Dallam||38 - 43 -- 81|
|Drew Shields||43 - 47 -- 90|
McCook JV Individual Results
|Alan Goodenberger||37 - 45 -- 82|
|Ben Skiles||53 - 52 -- 105|
|David Durner||52 - 71 -- 123|
|Jake Wagner||57 - 70 -- 127|
|Darius Bolli||65 - 69 -- 134|
Decatur Community Individual Results
|Kade Brown||44 - 37 -- 81|
|Garrett Berry||47 - 39 -- 86|
|Brent Juenemann||52 - 55 -- 107|
|Tyler Bruggeman||72 - 59 -- 131|