(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Warmer weather and longer days provide more of an opportunity to drive a tee shot down the fairway, and that's just what the Sikeston Bulldogs varsity golf team has been trying to perfect as the 2008 season draws near.
Under new head coach Andy McGill, the Bulldogs will try to continue their success of the 2007 season which provided two state attendees, Bill Green and Dakota Trevino.
"I'm new to the program," said McGill, who takes over for retired former coach Rick Oetting. "I have a good group of guys returning. Four of the top six are returning from last year, Bill Green, Dakota Trevino, Dee Bizzell and Joe Bowman."
McGill said that the squad has been limited to just seven days on the course this year, as the weather has provided climate as well as playing conditions that aren't favorable for the sport.
Adding to the list of varsity roster spots, is Gratten Allen, who spent some of the 2007 season on Oetting's varsity card.
McGill went on to say that Mark Fraser may help out the varsity list at times, as well as freshman Hannah Uthoff.
"She's a freshman girl that might compete a little bit," said McGill of Uthoff's varsity possibilities. "Time will tell. She's going to have to do everything the same as the guys, tees and everything. Nothing is different."
McGill said that the projected number one golfer on the 2008 team has yet to be determined, as Green and Trevino are both playing well. He did say that Green is playing better than he was at this time last season.
Looking ahead on the schedule, McGill said that the Notre Dame match is sure to be a good one, and full of competition.
"Notre Dame is probably our biggest rivalry," he said. "We play three times, one in a tourney. As far as talking to the other players, Notre Dame is a big match. It comes out from baseball, basketball and soccer too."
Notre Dame will be hosting a tournament Mar. 24, which will feature the two Bulldog squads on the same course for the first time in the 2008 season.
Sikeston finished third in the district last season, behind North County and Notre Dame.
Aside from Notre Dame, McGill said that Dexter and Poplar Bluff always seem to have a solid showing at the high school level.
"I'm just looking to have a fun year, this being my first year," said McGill. "I plan on being able to get out and establish a program that's already been going good for the last few years. We have a good reputation of having a clean program, good etiquette and being able to compete at the district level."
Sikeston will tee off Monday at Malden at 4 p.m. Also included in the match is New Madrid County Central.