Coming Back From COVID-19: Eldon boys golf looking to maintain postseason success with new lineup
The “Coming Back From COVID-19” series will focus on spring sports programs at Camdenton, Osage, Eldon, Versailles, Macks Creek and Climax Springs that saw their seasons stripped away due to the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. The series will highlight how these programs handled those tough times and their return to action.
Eldon was one of the best Class 2 teams in the state the last time the Mustangs were on the links two years ago.
They had captured a Tri-County Conference championship, a district championship and made a run to a fourth place finish in the Class 2 State Tournament to bring home plenty of hardware in 2019. It was the program’s first state trophy since winning back-to-back state titles in 2000 and 2001 and then a pandemic came along last year to put a halt on all of that momentum.
Now, just one player returns from that team, a sophomore who is now a senior in Aidan Wells. Eldon coach Matt Frey said golfers like Jack Pearson, Blake Smith, Logan Schultz and Logan Rogers would have made up a senior-heavy team with plenty of veteran experience, but all the program can do now is look forward. Thankfully, a younger core of Mustangs coming up in the ranks have plenty of their own experience and it may prove to be a strength.
“Aidan is our lone senior and has high goals for the year,” the coach said of the Rockhurst University commit. “He will be joined by underclassmen in Teagen Hull, Luke Barchenski Logan Blankenship and Alex Lusher. These boys have played golf for many years, so we are excited to see what they can offer. We also have a full junior varsity squad this year I am excited to see grow in the game of golf.”
In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eldon golfers continued to get to the course in a socially distant sport to keep their skills sharp, but they still missed out on a year of real experience on the links taking on other schools. In the approach to this season, Frey wants it to be no different than any other despite the unusual circumstances of a long hiatus.
“I always tell the guys to not take any day for granted,” the coach said. “The goal is to represent Eldon and the community to the best of our ability. Ultimately, it is to get back to the state tournament. We have a few titles to defend from two seasons ago, so that will also be fun.”
However this season plays out, it is just good to be back on the course for Frey and company and he has been encouraged by what he has seen so far as the Mustangs embark on a new campaign.
“I’m excited to see the new guys enjoying golf. It is great to hear about them going out over the weekend on their own and how hard they are working at practice,” the coach remarked. “If they continue to push this hard all season they will improve so much and that is great in a program when you have young guys pushing to be, ‘The Guy.’”
Michael Losch is the Sports Editor at the Lake Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-346-2132