Raiders tout some young golfersMarch 19, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
HUNTINGBURG - Southridge doesn't have any freshmen on this year's golf squad, but there are still some golfers who will need to get acclimated to the varsity level.
The Raiders have six juniors, none of whom got the chance to tee off last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down spring sports, and they also have three sophomores, some of whom may find themselves in Southridge's lineup this spring.
"Some of them younger guys are going to definitely have to step up this year, and they're going to be getting their first varsity time, and their chances to play a lot of competitive golf," Raiders coach Brock Matthews said.
Southridge's lone senior this year is Aidan Blessinger. Matthews told the Herald on March 4 that Blessinger is definitely the front runner to be the team's No. 1 golfer going into the season, but he touted other golfers, too, like junior Cory Abell and sophomore Gabe Boeglin.
"Cory as a freshman did some really good things for us just coming out that year," Matthews said. "He hadn't played before, and he more so than anybody was able to pick up really quickly on the game, and develop a little bit faster than what typical (freshmen) in their first year of golf do. And he's been working real hard in the simulator room. So, I'm expecting to see some good things out of him.
"And then Gabe Boeglin has taken a liking to the game as well," he continued. "...He's definitely got a decent swing, and I expect those three to be probably be the leaders early on. And then we got a couple spots open for some of those other sophomores and juniors that are coming in that never really have played competitive golf at all that are going to get a chance to step in there right away, and see what they can do."
Matthews would not commit to his fourth and fifth spots, if Blessinger, Abell and Boeglin comprise part of Southridge's top five. He did note, however, that juniors Eli Buse and Luke Trout played for him when they were both freshmen in 2019, and said both of them improved as the season went along.
Matthews will be asking a lot of Blessinger this spring.
"I'm going to lean on him quite a bit - not only during matches and things like that, but I need him to set the tone in practice as far as showing work ethic, being there early, staying later after practice to get some extra work in," Matthews said. "The young guys look up to the older ones always to see how they're acting, and eventually imitate that."
The Pocket Athletic Conference has expanded this year, which means more competition, but this doesn't change Southridge's schedule too much. That's because unlike other sports, the Raiders aren't required to play every conference opponent before the scheduled May 15 PAC match
Southridge is set to tee off April 3 at the Springs Valley Invite. Matthews doesn't want his golfers to feel pressure - just to do the things that they're working on, and to become better golfers by sectional time than they were when they began the season.
"I just want them to be able to see their growth and know that they got better," Matthews said.
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