Boys want to repeat a winning season on the greens

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By Tommie Kendall

For the first time since the 1990s, the Henry County Wildcats won more golf matches than they lost last fall when they went 8-3-1 and met or exceeded all of their preseason goals. Now, as the boys enter their second week of matches for the 2009 campaign, their sights are set on another winning season.

When the last golfer sunk his final putt last September, the Wildcats had their best season in 10 years. The Cats finished third in the North Central Kentucky Conference regular season, and finished runners up in both the NCKC tournament and the 8th Region All “A” Classic tournament — while the Cats barely missed a qualifying spot for the All “A” state tournament, Garrett Black qualified individually. This year Henry wants to have another winning season and contend for the always-elusive conference title.

“So far, I’ve been really pleased with this team,” HCHS coach Steve Dent said. “All of the boys have been working hard and coming together as a team. We have a lot of the same players on the team that were here last year, and we’re in the process of picking up some younger middle schoolers. Our team is solid.”

Henry made the switch from the Fifth Region to the Sixth Region this fall, which pits the Wildcats against much tougher competition in a Louisville-based region. Because of the move, Dent added more matches against Louisville schools, including away matches at Atherton, Whitefield Academy and Fern Creek.

“It’s much tougher because of the quality of golfers in the region,” Dent said. “I think we’ll do fine, though, as long as we keep working hard each day and on every hole.”

According to practice and early-season matches, senior Michael Wilson is the team’s No. 1 player with senior Glen Raisor and junior Trent Lucas battling for spots 2-3. The other golfers are not too far behind, bunched together playing for the rest of the team spots. Other players include sophomores Black, Matt Ricketts and Trenton Whitaker, along with freshman Nathan Paris.

The Wildcats have played two matches and one tournament so far this season, defeating Owen County on Aug. 6, playing in the Meade County Tournament on Aug. 8, and defeating Carroll County on Aug. 11.

Against Owen, Henry had a four-person score of 185, compared to Owen’s 206. Wilson shot a team-leading 42 for nine holes, Lucas shot a 47, and Ricketts and Paris had a 48 each. The win pointed the Cats in the right direction.

In the Meade Tournament, Lucas shot a 91 for 18 holes and Raisor shot a 96 as the team’s top-two players. Dent said his squad did not play as well in that tournament.

And against Carroll, Henry won 177-197. Raisor shot a 43, Black a 44, and Wilson and Paris a 45 each. The top four golfers were separated by just two strokes.

“They’re challenging each other, which will only help them drop their scores,” Dent said of his team’s tight play. “They seem much more motivated this year. I’m definitely looking forward to this season.”

Besides another winning record and contending for the NCKC championship, the Wildcats want to shoot 185 or less in each nine-hole match. The top conference teams, Dent said, are Walton-Verona and Trimble County. Their next outing is this Saturday at Wheatly.

“The winning season is our big goal this year but we also want to play consistently and try for that conference championship,” Dent said. “We just have to buckle down and work hard.”