SIKESTON -- Sikeston golfer Evan Deere has a few expectations he'd like to see filled over the course of the next few months. Expectations that he set for himself and the young squad he will represent this golf season.
"My goal, personally, is to get top 30 in state," Deere said. "It's a lot better than I did last year, but it's definitely reachable. State competitions are really hard and it's really hard to get out of districts, so I'm just hoping we can get a couple out of districts."
Deere will be one of the prominent returners on Sikeston's golf team this year leading a roster of mostly underclassmen.
"Having Evan as a returner is going to definitely help out," Sikeston golf coach Andy McGill. "He's already kind of taken a leadership role with getting some kids and talking to them about swinging."
Coming in as the only Bulldog golfer to qualify for the Class 3 state competition last year instantly became an expectation in itself. Deere shot an 82 in the District 1 championships held at Crown Point Golf Club in Farmington last season which was good enough to finish in a tie for sixth place and give him a shot at the state competition.
He was the first Sikeston freshman to compete in the state tournament since E.C. Atchison earned his way through in 2002.
Although he didn't play his best two rounds at state, shooting a 93 on the first day and an 87 on the second day which placed him 97th, Deere chalked that up to having 'freshman nerves' and lack of experience.
"In state I seemed to struggle a little bit," said Deere. "It was probably just being a freshman and lack of experience but, I hope to do a little bit better this year."
Although the freshman had his share of struggles early, Deere competed with senior Dakota Trevino for the number one spot on the team. All of his scores throughout the season were used in every match or tournament last year as well.
"It's definitely a lot more challenging playing against other team's number ones in tournaments," Deere said. "It's just a different environment because there's some really good competition around here.
"Playing at the number two, I think I shot a little bit better," Deere said.
Deere hopes to further his average this upcoming season with an emphasis on what most golfers, casual or professional, struggle with.
"You always want to be long off the tee but, truthfully, putting," said Deere. "It's really what I need to work on the most because that's just where all of the strokes come in. You have holes where you should be one or two putting and you end up three putting. That can cause you a tournament right there."
Deere will be headlining a roster of three freshman, three sophomores and four juniors. Sophomore Ben Murray will be fighting for the team's No. 2 spot as will freshman Kirk Hoggatt.
Junior Hannah Uthoff, the lone girl on the squad, will also be looked upon as a contributor.
"The big thing with her is the distance factor," McGill said. "She's not getting the distance off of the tee. She has to play from the blue tees (boy tees). If she played from the red tees (girls tees) it would be a lot different."
Juniors Connor Stallings, Ben Priday and Noah Moyers are also in the running for contributing scores throughout the year as well as sophomore Austin Curtis and freshmen Connor Landers and Conor MacGillivray.
"We'd like to compete and get in the top five at districts," McGill said. "Then try to get two or three guys out of districts to make it to state."
Despite the inexperience that comes along with a young team, McGill anticipates somewhat of a learning process as well as some improvement over the season. And if all else fails, it can only help towards the future.
"Right now, I want those kids from whatever base they started with to try and improve their stroke play anywhere from three to four strokes as far as personal goals," McGill said.
"We definitely have a young team," said Deere. "With the young team we'll probably look a lot better in the future."