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March 31, 2013

H.S. BOYS' GOLF PREVIEW: FC still has some work to do

Cason says Highlanders have ways to go to win a state title

FLOYDS KNOBS — On paper, it appears the Floyd Central boys’ golf team has a great chance to vie for another state championship this season.

The Highlanders have three key players back from their team that finished fifth in the 2012 IHSAA State Finals at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin. Coaches across the state have taken notice of Floyd Central’s potential in 2013 by ranking it third in the Indiana High School Golf Coaches Association preseason poll.

But as far as Highlanders’ coach Mike Cason is concerned, this team has some work to do if it is going to reach the state finals for the fifth consecutive season and win the program’s third state title.

“We’ve got some kids coming back with a lot of experience,” said Cason, who led the Highlanders to back-to-back state championships in 2006 and 2007. “But we’re going to have to develop some guys to get them better. We’ve got to bring those guys along.”

Floyd Central’s top three players are seniors Daniel Shepard and Devin Jenkins and junior Jack Sparrow.

Jenkins finished third in the season-opening Fuzzy Zoeller Invitational on Saturday at Covered Bridge Golf Club in Sellersburg with a 1-over-par 73. Shepard fired a 76, while Sparrow had an 82.

Shepard, who finished eighth at state last year, and Jenkins will both play NCAA Division I golf at IPFW next season.

But Cason says the Highlanders need to have someone shoot low, consistent scores at both the No. 4 and 5 positions for them to have a legitimate shot at a state crown.

Floyd golfers who are expected to fill those holes are senior Alex Beyer, junior Connor Welch and sophomore Eric Lamm. Cason also says sophomore Clayton Crum has a chance to be a solid player despite having limited experience on the links.

Even though Cason believes his players, especially his veterans, are motivated to redeem themselves at state this season, they need to work on some things to reach their potential.

“I think they’re pretty hungry. But this is a different kind of season. It doesn’t feel like a veteran team to me,” said Cason, who lost two of his top players to graduation in Austin Peckham and Jay Holderman. “We need someone in the fourth and fifth spot to step up.”

One thing that has Cason concerned is the work ethic of some of his players during the offseason. The Floyd Central boss expected some his troops to enhance their skills more.

“I’ve been disappointed in a few of them, quite frankly,” Cason said. “But that could be a blessing in disguise because they might have been burned out a little bit on golf. They are a tough team to figure out. But my job is to get these kids to play better, and that’s what we’ll do.”

A challenging schedule should prepare the Highlanders for the postseason, where they will run into some of the best teams in the state.

After finishing second at the Zoeller Invitational this past weekend, Floyd Central will compete in the Hall of Fame tournament at Rock Hollow Golf Course in Peru next weekend.

On Saturday, April 13, the Highlanders will play in the Tiger Invitational at Stonehedge Golf Club in Winona Lake, followed by the Spring Preview tournament on Saturday, April 20 at The Legends Golf Club. Floyd Central also will compete in the Bloomington North Invitational on Saturday, May 4 at the Indiana University course in Bloomington.

“We’re going to be playing a lot of different courses this year, so that should get us ready for state,” Cason said.

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