Experienced Panthers excited to get out on the course

The Monticello boys golf team, first row from left: Jonah Luensman, Ethan Long, Dylan Monk, Nick Welter, Rylan Kraus, Gabe Goodyear, Bo Kramer, Brendan Dirks and Steven Bader. Second row: Scott Barkema, Easton Prull, Ty Kehoe, Blaine Brighton, Dominik Chally, Cole Welter, Calvin Prull and Noah Webber. Third row: coach Curt Tauke, Grahm Schneiter, Kaden Kiburz, Connor Lambert, Chandler Weber, Lucas Bartachek and Justin Recker. Not pictured is Riley Manternach. (Photo by Pete Temple)
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     The Monticello High School boys golf team is hoping to achieve this year what they didn’t get the chance to last year.

     “We have very lofty goals this year,” said Curt Tauke, who is in his 38th year as Panther head coach. “We feel we should have a shot to win every tournament we’re in, including the (River Valley) Conference.

     “The post-season will be more challenging for us, as we have moved to Class 3A. Our ultimate goal is obviously to make it to the state tournament. The road is tougher in 3A, but I know we have the talent to get there.”

     The Panthers have five senior letter-winners, including three who were in the top six on the team as sophomores two years ago: Justin Recker, Connor Lambert and Bo Kramer. Ty Kehoe rotated between varsity and junior varsity as a sophomore, and Kaden Kiburz played in some varsity meets.

     None of them got to play last year, as the season was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

     “It’s really too bad that this group didn’t get the opportunity to play last year,” Tauke said. “The group of five seniors would have been the nucleus of last year’s team as well. Fortunately, they get to play this year, and I’m expecting great things from them.”

     Two freshmen, Blaine Brighton and Easton Prull; as well as sophomore Calvin Prull, have shown the potential to compete for a varsity spot, the coach said.

     The Panthers will play in five invitationals as well as the conference tournament, where West Branch and Monticello are likely to be among the favorites.

     Of course, there are some unknowns, particularly this year’s freshmen and sophomores from opposing schools.

     “You basically have two classes that you know nothing about, so a team could change significantly from the time we last saw them two years ago,” Tauke said.

     The coach believes Monticello’s experience in other sports works to its advantage.

     “Last year’s baseball team, football and basketball teams all had great seasons and post-season runs,” he said. “The success that they had in those sports will carry over and will be evident in players as they participate in other sports.”



Subscriber Login