(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Responding to growing student interest, Kelly High School has decided to to launch a new golf team that is debuting this spring.
"Last year (the school) wanted to get a program for golf because we had some kids interested," head coach Rod McQuerter said. "They developed a program, got a plan together and we were fortunate to have a program this year.
"The superintendent and principal asked if I would do it last year and I was more than happy to help the program out."
Featuring nine members, including seven freshman, the Hawks will start out with ten regular season events before taking part in the Class 2 district tournament on April 27-29 in Bonne Terre at Terre Du Lac Country Club.
"I'm glad we got a team this year," freshman Derrick Garner said. "I've been wanting one for a while. I've been playing about four years and will really be glad if we can place in a couple of tournaments."
Crediting course supervisor Jeff Ketterman with working with the school, McQuerter said the Hawks will call the Bootheel Golf Course home this season.
"We want to thank the Bootheel Golf Course," McQuerter said. "Most of these kids have participated in the First Tee program here.
"Since they've participated in the program when they were kids, they have a little bit of experience understanding the basic fundamentals of golf."
McQuerter added his team's main focus this season will be on sportsmanship and team play.
"The main expectations for this year is integrity and fair play," he said. "I tell the kids all the time, 'you better have a positive attitude when you're out here.'
"Because with golf you're going to hit some good shots and you're going to hit a lot of bad shots."
Kelly's golf team includes Taylor Beggs, Jacob Buell, Garner, Roberts, Housman, Rucker, Zach McCormick, Rachel Birk and Hayley Hutson.
Already one event into the season the Hawks are off to a solid start. Playing at Caruthersville against New Madrid County Central, Hayti and the hometown Tigers, Kelly placed second with a team score of 201. That put them behind NMCC who shot a 171.
Leading the way for the Hawks was Rucker, who shot 51 in the nine hole event. He was followed closely by Roberts and Garner who had scores of 52 and 53 respectively.
Rounding out the team's scoring was Buell with a 55 and Housman with a 59.
"I'm excited but you have your general nerves too," Buell, a junior, said about the Hawk's inaugural season. "I think if we can keep our minds focused on what we're doing and keep our nerves kind of held back I think we'll do alright."
For its next event, Kelly will travel back to Caruthersville where they play the hometown Tigers and Bloomfield on Tuesday at 4 p.m.