Western’s boys golf team is thinking big this season.
The Panthers return their lineup intact after advancing to the Warsaw Regional last year.
“There is a lot expected out of these kids — I expect a lot of out of them, the school expects a lot out of them, and they expect a lot out of themselves,” longtime coach Steve Hoppes said. “The boys team has never gone to state [in school history]. The girls have gone so many times. The boys would love to make it. They want it badly. We feel like if we have any shot, it’s this year.”
The top three teams from each regional advance to state.
Hoppes noted there is a new regional destination for local teams this year. The top three teams from the Peru Sectional still will advance to the Warsaw Regional, but Warsaw will hold the regional at Rozella Ford G.C. instead of Stonehenge G.C.
“The IHSAA put in a new rule that you can’t host a sectional and a regional on your home course. You can host both, but one of them has to be on a neutral course. It’s an excellent rule change,” Hoppes said, noting teams that host both on their home course hold a big advantage.
Kokomo and Northwestern also are fired up for the new season. The Wildkats are boosted by the addition of junior Zach Watterson. He previously played at Cass and was the Peru Sectional medalist last year. The Purple Tigers return the bulk of their lineup.
The following are looks at the five Howard County teams, in order of their sectional finishes last year.
The Panthers had several big moments last season. They shot a school-record 299 in the Northwestern Invitational at Green Acres G.C. They finished as runners-up in the Mid-Indiana Conference tournament at Wildcat Creek and also in the Peru Sectional at Rock Hollow.