Highland boys golf team off to strong start under second-year coach
GRANGER — Highland High School’s boys golf head coach Andrew Dutt said one of the team’s top goals for this season is to “become more consistent as a team.”
“I knew that we had good golfers coming back, and that it was always going to come down to who can score well out of the fourth spot,” he said. “I wanted our [No.] 4, 5, 6 golfers to really step up and make some good scores to help out the [No.] 1, 2, 3 golfers. One of the other goals that we, as a team, had was to play better in the Suburban League and take care of matches while we were on our home course.”
Last year, Highland compiled a 6-3 record in its dual matches in Dutt’s first season as the team’s coach.
“We finished up 4-3 in the Suburban League dual matches,” he said. “We also won the Coppertop Invitational and the State Farm Invitational tournaments.”
This year’s team features “a very good mix” of youth and experience, Dutt said.
“We have three seniors, one of whom is playing varsity consistently for the first time, and his presence has been very good with us,” the coach stated. “My other seniors have performed very well — especially my No. 1 (Ryan Scherler), who has been our anchor all year. We also have two sophomores and a junior, which is obviously exciting for the next couple of years. We are in a really good spot in that we have four returning lettermen, and these guys are really carrying our team right now.”
The seniors on this year’s team (with comments on each by Dutt) are:
- Ryan Scherler: “He is our clear-cut No. 1 golfer. He has the lowest average in the county and is currently second in the Suburban League. He is a returning first-team all-Suburban and is averaging mid-upper 70s in his matches. He’s also a great kid to be around and has a ton of natural talent.”
- Mason Weiss: “He is also a returning letterman. He has had some up and down matches, but when he is on, he definitely scores well. Consistency is the biggest thing with him. He has been working to fix some of his problems and is a competitor when he is on the golf course. If he can be more consistent, we will be able to hopefully stretch our season into mid-October.”
- Brendan Popson: “Brendan is also a worker. He is playing varsity for the first time and really only picked the game up a few years ago. He has been a nice presence to have on varsity. I think some of his best golf is yet to come, and hopefully he will be able to start scoring a little lower to show for all the work he has put in.”
Highland’s other returning letter-winners are junior Andy Grayson and sophomore Chad Dubiel.
“Andy has been working his tail off, getting lessons at Golf-Tec and playing on a lot of different courses. He is currently seventh in the Suburban League and has been posting some extremely low scores for us,” the coach stated. “Coming into this year, I had some very high expectations for Chad Dubiel, who played some varsity last year. He has far exceeded my expectations and has been playing extremely well, averaging in the high 70s during many of our matches.”
Dutt said sophomore Andrew Klafczynski has “really stepped up” in his first year on the varsity squad.
“Coming into this season, he had played some golf, but it is his third sport,” the coach said. “Andrew is so athletic that he has been able to step in and has become our fourth golfer all season. I had no clue that Andrew was going to step up and shoot the scores that he has. He came straight from [junior varsity] last year and has been fantastic day in and day out. He has become extremely consistent with his game, and really the sky is the limit for him and Chad.”
Through Sept. 5, Highland had a 5-0 overall record and a 4-0 mark in league play.
“We have won two tournaments, finishing first in the Trinity Invitational and the Nordonia Classic,” Dutt said. “We have finished second overall in two tournaments, missing out by one stroke in the Brunswick Invitational and losing to North Royalton at the C-Top classic. We also finished third in the County Tournament at the beginning of the year.”
According to Dutt, Highland’s strong start has the team headed in the right direction toward achieving its goals for the season.
“Realistically, I believe that we have put ourselves in a great position to win the Suburban League,” he said. “I would like to finish out 7-0 in the Suburban League and give our team a real shot to win the league at the post-season tournament. I would also like to see our team move on in the state tournament from sectionals to the district part of the tournament. If we could do that, I would be extremely happy with our progress. Obviously, I would love to go down and compete in Columbus for a state title. There are a ton of tough teams around our region, and to be able to compete with them and possibly beat them to go down to Columbus has to be any coach’s and player’s goal.”
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