Wildcat golf returns experienced team

Jason Ferguson

A year after three young Wildcats qualified for the Class A State Tournament the Custer High School golf team hopes to return to this year’s state tournament as a team, with the returning state qualifiers leading the charge.
Among those is junior Jackson Wiles, who was the top finisher for the Wildcats at last year’s state meet. Also returning are fellow junior Lane Poper and sophomore Regan Sorenson, who both qualified for the state meet last year.
“A year of golf always helps, regardless,” Custer head coach Paul Kelley said. “They have played a lot this summer, and played in some junior tournaments. Hopefully that will carry over as we get into the golf season.”
Last year the Wildcats occasionally struggled to fill the final two spots on the varsity roster, but should have no such problem this year, with players such as eighth grader Curtis Sorenson, who just missed qualifying for state, expected to take a step forward, along with other team members such as sophomore Zayden LaPlaca, junior Ayden Petz, sophomore Kolby Riley and sophomore Dillon Hanis.
“We’ve got good numbers and we feel we could put together a pretty decent team,” Kelley said. “With a few years of varsity experience under their belt, they know what it’s going to be like and how they have to play. We actually have seven kids who are competing for (varsity) spots.”
Kelley said he expects St. Thomas More to lead the charge in the conference race this year, as the Cavaliers return every golfer from last year’s team. Spearfish should also be solid, Kelley said, as they always are.
“Those are the top two without seeing what everybody else brings back,” he said. “I think hopefully we can fit in the middle of the pack.”
In the region race, Kelley is confident the Wildcats can qualify for state as a team, pointing out after St. Thomas More it’s anybody’s race for the second and third spots.
“It’s just getting back into the groove of playing. Some of the kids played competitive golf over teh summer,” he said. “We don’t get much time for practice with meets start ing (the team had its first meet Monday), but that’s a benefit as well coming out of the summer and going right into golf season.”

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