Manhattan High takes sixth, third

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Julianna Poe, Trending Editor

Chipping into a new season with a crowd of spectators, the Manhattan High Varsity boys golf team placed sixth and third, one away and one at home.

“Since I was in high school, … nobody watched golf meets,” head coach Brad Ficke said. “In the mid-early 90s, parents stayed away and now they come and they will spend the whole day and watch … That, to me, is significant. It’s just a different brand of golf.”

On Thursday, the team traveled to Topeka to compete in the Washburn Rural Invite. Out of six players, only one is a returning Varsity player: junior Grant Snowden. Two more boys are returning Junior Varsity players — juniors Trey Sauder and Jonathan Wefald — and the rest are new to the team: senior Owen Braxmeyer, sophomore Kaiden Siebert and freshman Miles Braxmeyer. 

“We’ve never had a COVID year, or missed a year, so not only is it a new team, it’s an inexperienced team,” Fickle said, “but it’s been kind of fun … There’s just so much work to do and so much to learn, … whether it’s … getting better as a player, or the rules, or the mental game … There’s just a lot of ground to make up and so it’s definitely a challenge.”

Leading the team as the only medalist, Snowden took 10th overall with a 76. Hot on his trail, Miles and Sauder hit 81s, Wefald scored an 83, Owen totaled 88 and Siebert took home a 92.

On Monday, both the Varsity and JV teams came ready to win at the Manhattan Country Club. With 49 total participants and eight full teams, the competition was high. 

“[On] the 18th hole, I was probably about 20 feet or so for my birdie putt,” Owen said. “I sank it and that was probably the highlight of my day.”

Both Varsity and JV team scores — with Manhattan as the only team with both competing — were compared to medal the best of the best. Washburn Rural’s Varsity team took the lead with a 311. With a 322, Shawnee Heights JV team kept Manhattan High’s Varsity team from landing second place with a score difference of two strokes. 

“[It felt] pretty good,” Wefald said. “We could have done better but we still can’t complain about [medaling].”

Shaving off four strokes from the first meet of the season, Wefald placed sixth with a 79. Tying with Wefald, Owen followed with seventh. Close behind, Sauder scored an 80, Snowden hit an 86, Miles took an 87 and Siebert totaled an 88. 

“I honestly didn’t think I was going to place,” Owen said. “I didn’t know 79 was going to place [based] off last week because there were so many low scores and more teams, but it felt good to just place in general.”

On Monday, the boys will hit the road to play in Kansas City.