The Collins-Maxwell/Baxter golf program is going through a bit of a rebuilding phase.
Neither the boys and the girls teams have much competitive experience, and this season will likely serve as a crash course in competitive golf for many of the golfers.
According to coach Kris Corbin, the team needs to harness the basics of the game before raising any expectations for them. It’s clear he isn’t anticipating a Heart of Iowa Conference championship this season.
“One thing I want to do is just give them the basics. I want them to just get better at the game,” Corbin said. “We know we are not going to really compete for a title this season, but if you look at our conference, it is stacked top to bottom. Right now we have a lot of players that can really improve. My expectation is that they should be able to take of five to six shots per player.”
Corbin coaches both teams for the Raiders, and right now his main focus is to see improvement in his players.
Numbers have shrunk a little bit in the past two years. Last season the Raiders had a total of 33 golfers on the team, 25 of which were boys.
The variety has been cut significantly this year, as only 13 boys will compete for the Raiders, significantly lowering their chances for one of the boys to exceed expectations.
On the boys side, returning as the low-man from last season is senior Levi Anderson. Anderson typically hovers around the mid-to-upper 40s for nine holes.
Sophomore Garrett Husske returns as well after competing at the varsity level during his freshman season. Husske is usually in the mid-50s for nine holes. Another senior, AJ Floria returns with a scoring average similar to that of Huske.
For the girls, returning as the low-scorer is senior Elisabeth Engle, who will be cleared to resume activity very soon following a devastating ACL injury. Also returning is sophomore Anna Peters, who competed for the team’s top spot as a freshman last season. She should be in the mid-to-upper 50s.
“It’s going to be as unpredictable a season as we have had year. I don’t know what to expect out of some of the younger players,” Corbin said. “We’re very inexperienced, and again this is a notoriously difficult conference to play in. For the boys, Prairie City-Monroe is probably the team to beat, but Gilbert, South Hamilton and Roland-Story are also tough. And for the girls, South Hamilton will probably be that tough team, but again, Gilbert, PCM and Story will be contenders.”
The Raiders’ golf season begins at South Hamilton on Monday, April 8, for the girls and on Thursday, April 11 for the boys, also playing at South Hamilton.