State qualifiers like Tyler Monda, Curt Carlson, Mitch Means, Jared Hoppe and Zack Lundbohm have led the Brainerd Warriors the last six years.
This spring the Warriors are searching for another player of that caliber, particularly one to replace Monda, who graduated last spring following a 22nd-place finish in the Class 3A state meet.
"We've played so well the last few years, now we've kind of lost our big guns," Warriors coach Brian Wallace said. "If we can finish in the upper part of the Central Lakes Conference, maybe in the top 2-3 teams, you never know because when you get to the section meet anything can happen.
Brainerd Warrior golfers, including Will Feyder (left), Michael Foley, Michael Monda and Sean Halverson, practiced outside for the first time Thursday on the lower site behind Brainerd High School.
Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey
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"When we were supposed to win (the section in 2007) we didn't. This year we certainly are not one of the preseason favorites by a long shot. It depends on how hard we work, how well we do as a team, how well we control our emotions.
"We really do have potential as a team, but it's yet to be seen how we handle the emotional issues that come along."
Brainerd returns junior captain Sean Halverson and freshman Michael Foley from the individual section meet. Halverson placed 11th in the section with a 156 and Foley shot a 168.
"Sean is the kind of player who really has worked on his game, day in day out," Wallace said. "He really has improved by leaps and bounds over the last couple years. We're looking for that from him again this spring. We'll see what he can do after yet another year of practice and playing all summer long. He could really light it up.
"It's hard to believe Michael Foley's only a ninth-grader. He's got a lot of poise on the golf course. We got a chance to see that in the section meet. He hit a ball that literally disappeared in a bunker. Obviously, it bothered him, but he walked back to the tee and hit another ball. It kind of took him out of play, but for an eighth-grader to have that kind of poise it will be interesting to see the next several years how that works out for him. He's got a lot of potential."
Also back from the section team are junior Michael Monda, who shot 89 the first day of the meet, and senior Jackson Ronnei, who shot 90 the first day.
"Michael Monda is an interesting player," Wallace said. "He can be a little bit streaky. He can string a lot of good holes together. He just has to stay away from disaster where his score goes out of sight. He's got a lot of tools. He's a very physical athlete. He also has worked hard on his game.
Brainerd High School boys' golf
Head coach: Brian Wallace, eighth year
2008 finish: Third in CLC; seventh in Section 8-3A
Returning golfers from section team: Sean Halverson, Michael Foley, Michael Monda, Jackson Ronnei
Assistant coach: Troy Nelson
Seniors: Jackson Ronnei
Juniors: Tom Freeman, Karl Freudenberg, Sean Halverson, Devin Janousek, Mike Monda, Adam Tautges, Tim Thorson, Coltan Vandeputte
Sophomores: Will Feyder, Alex Hill, Blake Kraemer, Zach Meyer, Logan Rudstrom
Freshmen: Blake Helwig, Michael Foley, Tommy Olson, T.J. Perpich, Bobby Rude
Seventh grade: Thomas Stoxen
April 13, CLC at St. Cloud 3 p.m.; 17, Invite at the Pines, 2:30 p.m.; 18, Invite at the Preserve 9 a.m.; 21, CLC at St. Cloud 4 p.m.; 23, Invite at the Preserve; 25, Pre-Section 8-3A TBA; 27, Invite at St. Cloud 8:30 a.m.; 30, Invite at the Preserve 8:30 a.m.; 30, Invite at Sartell 4 p.m.
May 6, Invite at Deacon's Lodge 3 p.m.; 8, CLC at Sauk Rapids 4 p.m.; 11, CLC at Willmar 4 p.m.; 14, Invite at St. Cloud 1:30 p.m.; 18, CLC championship at the Preserve 3:30 p.m.; 25-26, Section 8-3A TBA
"Jackson is a big, tall kid. He's a good leader, one of our captains. An average under 80 would be a great goal for him, to be consistently under 80. He's sometimes a little inconsistent on the golf course, but he's got a lot of leadership potential. That will be a big help for our team. He's very mature."
The Warriors will use Eagles Landing in Fort Ripley, the Pines and Preserve at Grand View Lodge and the Legacy at Cragun's for practices and meets.
"We want to thank them for their support and for allowing us to have practices and meets at their locations," Wallace said. "I also want to thank Chris Foley at Madden's for his help with a rules clinic and team support."
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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