Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 24, 2014

Golden Hawks ready to hit the links

By Derek Helling, Sports Editor | Mar 21, 2014
Photo by: Derek Helling The Mid-Prairie boys’ golf team begins its season on Monday, March 31 at Wilton in a River Valley Conference dual. The back row from left to right is freshman Alexander Rich, junior Devon Young, junior Grant Schlabaugh and freshman Samuel Bailey. The front row from left to right is freshman Ethan Danner, freshman Seth Mann, freshman Zach Owens, freshman Alec Rauch, and senior Gabe Miecznikowski. Not pictured is sophomore Paul Hawbaker.

Golf is a game of control. A golfer has to control her/his body, emotions and mind. Through those efforts, attempts are made to control the flight path or the roll of the ball. Golfers also try to control, or rather manipulate, elements like the lay of the land, length of the grass and the wind to their advantage.
As with every spring at Mid-Prairie High School, the spring of 2014 has brought the challenge to control of golf to those members of the student body who wish to accept that challenge.
Kelby Bender, a first-year teacher at Mid-Prairie, has accepted an additional challenge as he has just this week taken over as the head coach of the Golden Hawk boys’ golf team.
“I’m still getting to know the guys and they are still getting to know me. It’s a fresh start for them and me. We’re going to qualify for every spot. Golf usually works itself out to make it obvious who is playing the best. We have four returning letterwinners. [Junior] Devon Young was the No. 2 golfer last year, so we’re looking for him to be a leader. We’re looking for [senior] Gabe Miecznikowkski to move up and be a leader. [Sophomore] Paul Hawbaker had a nice freshman season, so we’re looking for him to build on that. [Junior] Grant Schlabaugh is in that mix as well,” Bender said.
“With the River Valley Conference’s realignment we will be playing the same teams this year but the format will be different. We’ve gone away from the triangulars and quads. We are down now to duals on Mondays so more boys can play as far as conference play goes. The rest of the season we have found invitationals to prepare for districts,” Bender commented.
Tracy McArtor is in his seventh year leading the Golden Hawk girls.
“Last year the girls played well. They won conference for the second time in the past seven years. They made it through the first round of the district tournament and then ended up fourth in the second round. We lost four seniors from that team but we have four seniors this year as well. It’s early in the season but we’ve got a couple of kids that are strong in one phase or another. One of our seniors, Courtney Caytone, picked up the short game really quickly. In my opinion that’s the hardest part to learn. Some of the other girls can really hit it a long way off the tee but things go south for them a little bit when they get onto the green. I’ve got three freshman that I haven’t seen play yet. [Sophomore] Allyson Wertz was an All-Conference player last year along with Courtney and has played in some junior tournaments. She has a lot of experience and it helps to have her leadership despite her age. We depend on her to shoot some scores to help even out the team total,” McArtor explained.
“Another change this year is that there won’t be anymore co-ed duals. If we’re at home, the boys will be on the road and vice versa. The change was made so that students didn’t miss as much school,” McArtor elaborated.
The Golden Hawk boys start play at Wilton on Monday, March 31. They will be at home for the first time on April 7, then again on April 14. A triangular against Columbus Community and Washington at Washington on Tuesday, April 15 starts a string of five away meets. The boys will then be at home on May 5 and 6.
The girls’ team opens its season at home on Monday, March 31. The Golden Hawks then play three road dates including the triangular at Washington. The girls will then be at home on April 21, 24 and 29. Three more road duals precede a final dual with West Branch at home on May 7.
What obstacles the Golden Hawk boys and girls will face on the courses this season has yet to be seen, but as long as they do their best to control what they can, those obstacles should be conquered.

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