GAS — For most golfers, a top-10 finish and a medal at a varsity tournament is a big accomplishment and a reason for celebration, but as Humboldt coach Ryan Sparks puts it, Ryan Sellman doesn’t have the same expectations as most other high school golfers.
“He has had a little bit of a struggle lately, but hopefully as we get to the end of the season, he will peak again,” Sparks said. “Overall, we know his potential and know he is capable of playing well against just about everybody around.”
After starting the year with a pair of first-place finishes and a second-place finish in Pittsburg, Sellman finished fifth in a tournament in Fredonia last week and his perceived “struggle” continued in the Buck Quincy Invitational on Monday afternoon at the Allen County Country Club.
Sellman and the rest of the field had to deal with tough conditions as the wind was howling.
“When the wind is blowing 30 miles-per-hour, it is pretty hard to play,” Sellman said. “I was struggling off the tee mostly. My putting was good and my chipping was alright, but it was the drives that hurt.”
To add to the difficulties, the grass was unusually thick thanks to all the recent rain that we have received.
“It was a very tough day,” Iola coach and Allen County Country Club manager L.C. Lacy said. “It was very wet and the grass was high, because we haven’t been able to mow it with the rain for a couple days.”
Sellman finished tied for ninth with a 44 on the front-nine and a 45 on the back-nine for an 89 on the day.
“I have been very excited,” Sellman said. “I started off very well this season and am just excited to see what goes on the rest of the year.”
Parsons’ Drew Fuentez won the tournament by shooting an 81.
“(Fuentez) is a kid that shot a 75 at a much tougher golf course earlier this year,” Lacy said. “The conditions caused some higher scores.”
Aside from Sellman, the Cubs had three other golfers, who all finished between 32nd and 35th overall.
“We would have liked to see a little bit better result overall today, but each day we are getting better and progressing in practice,” Sparks said.
Reid Smith was 32nd with a 116 by shooting a 60 on the front-nine and a 56 on the back-nine. Drake Hottenstein tied for 33rd with a 125 by shooting a 65 on the front-nine and a 60 on the back-nine.
Roni Bulk rounded out the Cub golfers with a 129 to take 35th. She shot a 65 on the front-nine and a 64 on the back-nine.
“All three of them are freshman, so they are new to golf all together this year,” Sparks said. “From the first meet until now,they have grown a lot and they are learning a lot of the fundamentals, the rules and what high school golf is all about. Even having Ryan alongside with them to help them grow as players helps them a lot.”
For the Mustangs and Filly — with Chloe Hageman — the early part of the season has been a feeling out process between the team and Lacy, their new coach.
Lacy is pleased with the growth he saw from his team in the Quincy Invitational though.
“What I see is our kids improving,” Lacy said. “I told them that all I want them to do is improve.”
The top player for Iola was Jeremy Waldman, who finished in a tie for 14th with a 96.
“Comparing our scores from the last meet when the conditions were perfect with a harder courses, I’d say we did pretty well,” Waldman said. “I was really content with my short-game today, it saved me.”
Behind Waldman was a cluster of Iola golfers from 22nd to 25th.
Gentry Dougherty shot a 106 to finish in a tie for 22nd while a 108 for Drake Sell and a 109 for Hageman earned then 24th and 25th respectively.
“Any time you improve and gain confidence,you can play better your next time out,” Lacy said.
Parker Smith and Jonathan Lynn rounded out the Iola golfers with a 134 for Smith and a 145 for Lynn to take 36th and 38th overall.
“I’ve got young players,” Lacy said. “They are freshmen and sophomores, I don’t have a lot of seasoned players, but I feel confident that their games will improve as the season goes on. They will get there.”