Area boys golf teams might get off to a slower start this spring, given that they haven’t had much opportunity to practice outside.

Columbus East and Columbus North were on spring break for a week-and-a-half. Then, after getting out the latter part of last week, Saturday’s snow and Sunday and Monday’s rain led to the closing of Otter Creek Golf Course and Harrison Lake Country Club on Monday and Tuesday.

The Bull Dogs and Olympians have little time to get ready for the start of the season. They, along with Jennings County, are slated to open Saturday in the Seymour Invitational at Shadowood.

Columbus North

The Bull Dogs finished fifth at state last year, but lost their top three golfers. Doug Bieker will have no seniors for the first time in his 23 years as North coach.

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Juniors Drew Smith and Henry Kiel, who played Nos. 4 and 5 for the Bull Dogs last season, will lead this year’s team.

“We made a really good run at the end of the year,” Bieker said. “I was happy for those seniors, and for Drew and Henry to play at state, that will go a long way for us this year.”

Junior Reece Moore, who saw a little varsity action, is the only other North player with varsity experience. Juniors Jackson Kerber, Cameron Ziegler and Conner Williams played JV.

Freshmen Luke VanDeventer and Jacob Niedbalski were standouts in middle school and have extensive tournament experience. Freshmen Michael Giambiani, Andrew Krueger, Joe Neal and Carter Ward also will push for varsity spots.

When Bieker met with the players and their parents earlier this week, he told them about the 2011 team that finished as state runner-up with two seniors and three freshmen. When those freshmen were seniors in 2014, the Bull Dogs won the state championship.

“The freshmen will certainly get their chances, and some of those juniors who haven’t played (varsity) will get their chances,” Bieker said. “It’s an exciting time, but when you have all those freshmen, you never know who’s going to decide to work hard. If they work hard, we’re going to be pretty good by the end of the season.”

North, which won the Greensburg Sectional and finished second in the Providence Regional, was playing its best golf at the end of last season and hopes to do that again this spring.

“Hopefully, we can make another run and get back to state,” Bieker said. “Our regional is going to be a little bit down this year. Drew and Henry have played that (Champions Pointe) course well, and if we can get a couple other kids down there in the 70s, we have a shot at getting back to (state at) Prairie View.”

Columbus East

Like North, the Olympians lost their top three golfers.

Junior Mark Mayhew, who finished fourth individually in the sectional, returns to lead the team. Sophomore Adrian Adams also returns after playing No. 5 last season.

Senior Avery Foist played in some varsity matches last season. Sophomores Layton Erfmeier and Leo Shelp were JV players.

“Mark has a lot of experience, and Adrian has a passion for the game and Avery has worked really hard out at Otter Creek and with Kody (Reynolds), that’s a pretty good four,” East coach Tom LaBarbera said. “The other players, it’s just how quickly they can come along.”

Reynolds has plenty of tournament experience and could challenge Mayhew and Adams for the No. 1 spot. He leads a freshman class that includes Cole Schaefer and Chase Jones.

The Olympians finished second in the Greensburg Sectional and 11th in the regional last season.

“The younger players are going to be asked to step up and play right away,” LaBarbera said. “I definitely think this is a developmental year with so many young players. Hopefully by the end of the year, we’ll be in good shape.”


The Jets lost three of their top five to graduation, but return their No. 1 player in senior Justin Compton.

Senior Matt Sweet was Hauser’s No. 4 golfer. Sophomore Sam Johnson played No. 6 in dual and tri matches.

“We have some pretty good athletes there,” Hauser coach Mike Compton said. “Justin has the potential to go under par any round. I’m pretty pleased with where we are right now, but we have a long way to go.”

Junior Justin Stafford, who did not play last year, could crack the top five, along with sophomore Ethan Wallace and freshman Sophia Mussilami. Sophomore Keagan Miller and freshmen Justice Gilliland and Alex Woodson-Johnson could push for varsity spots.

The Jets went 10-4 in dual matches last season and finished eighth in the Greensburg Sectional.

“Our goal is to identify our strengths and practice hard to improve those while minimizing our errors so we can be competitive each match,” Mike Compton said. “Each shot in a high school match is important. Two of our matches last season were decided by a single shot, so we stress in each practice to play every shot to the best of your ability.”

Jennings County

The Panthers made it to regional last year after finishing second in the Madison Sectional.

Four players return from the top five, including the top two golfers in junior Bryce Kirchner and senior Austin Roscoe. Senior Justin Gasper and junior Hunter Conrad also are back.

Sophomore Adam Leach played in the postseason, but is out with a torn ACL. Sophomore Joe Kelley could fill his spot.

Freshman Zach Bingham also could contend, along with juniors Samson Miller and Keegan Beal and sophomore Conner Cook, all of which played in some varsity matches last season. Junior Weston Miller just began playing golf and has made significant improvement.

“I think I have five guys that are going to be in the 40s and maybe one dropping down into the 30s,” Jennings coach B.J. Bingham said. “We’re going to be better this year. I’m hopeful to at least be 20 to 30 shots lower on our 18-hole scores. That’s my goal.”

Brown County

Junior Parker VanNess returns to lead the Eagles after qualifying for regional as an individual last season.

Senior Ben Rygiel played No. 3 for Brown County, and sophomore Brendon Asher played No. 5 in the sectional. Sophomore Peyton Proctor and Rex Watters also played in some matches.

Junior Curtis Lookebill, who is out for golf for the first time, could push for a spot in the top five.

“It’s kind of Parker at the front of that and then lots of questions behind him,” Brown County coach Brad Baughman said. “If those guys can just come out and show a good attitude and get better every day, we’ll be OK. There’s reasons to be optimistic, but there’s no surefire thing.”


The Lancers will have a small team, with only three players so far.

Junior Bladen Hancock was the No. 1 golfer last season, while senior Zach Burton played No. 5. Sophomore Noah Childers played mostly JV.

“Hopefully, we can pick up a couple more players,” Edinburgh coach Doug Weddle said. “It’s been tough with spring break for two weeks and the weather we’ve had this week.”

Trinity Lutheran

The Cougars went from having their biggest team ever with 15 players to their smallest with five.

Trinity lost its top five players from a team that finished fourth in the Bloomington North Sectional. Junior Jacob Keith and senior Noah Criswell were the Nos. 6 and 7 golfers.

Juniors Mark Shoemaker, Josiah Foster and Ryland Nierman will complete the team.

“All five have the potential to be pretty decent players,” Trinity coach Greg Personett said. “They’ve improved since last year. They all have good attitudes, and they worked hard in offseason.”

If you go

Boys golf schedules for Bartholomew County schools:

Columbus East

Saturday;at Seymour Invitational;9 a.m.

April 7;at Floyd Central Invitational;2 p.m.

April 9;Shelbyville;4:45 p.m.

April 14;at Jennings County Tournament;9 a.m.

April 17;at Jennings County;4:30 p.m.

April 28;at Bedford North Lawrence Invitational;8:30 a.m.

April 30;at Seymour;5 p.m.

May 3;Columbus North;4 p.m.

May 5;at Bloomington North Invitational;8 a.m.

May 7;Madison;4:30 p.m.

May 15;New Albany;4:30 p.m.

May 16;at Jeffersonville;4:45 p.m.

May 17;Batesville;5 p.m.

May 19;HHC at Jennings County;noon

May 24;at Columbus North;4 p.m.

May 25;at Greensburg;4 p.m.

May 26;at Providence Invitational;1 p.m.

May 31;Bloomington North;1 p.m.

Columbus North

Saturday;at Seymour Invitational;9 a.m.

Tuesday;at Brownstown Central;5 p.m.

April 7;Hall of Fame at Rock Hollow;10 a.m.

April 11;at Providence (with Jennings County);5 p.m.

April 12;at Franklin Central;4:30 p.m.

April 14;at Center Grove Invitational;1 p.m.

April 23;at Bloomington South;4 p.m.

April 24;Bedford North Lawrence/Zionsville;4:30 p.m.

April 25;at Hauser;4 p.m.

April 28;at Bedford North Lawrence Invitational;8:30 a.m.

April 30;at Bloomington North;4 p.m.

May 2;at Franklin (with Center Grove);4 p.m.

May 3;at Columbus East;4 p.m.

May 5;Spring Preview at Prairie View;1 p.m.

May 9;at Shelbyville (with New Palestine);4:30 p.m.

May 12;at Zionsville Invitational;8:30 p.m.

May 14;Conference Indiana at Timbergate;9 a.m.

May 15;Seymour;4:30 p.m.

May 21;at Greensburg;4 p.m.

May 24;Columbus East;4 p.m.

May 26;at Providence Invitational;1 p.m.


Thursday;at Brown County;4:30 p.m.

April 12;Waldron;4 p.m.

April 16;at Edinburgh;4:30 p.m.

April 19;at North Decatur (with Batesville);4:30 p.m.

April 25;Columbus North;4 p.m.

April 30;at Southwestern (Shelby);4:30 p.m.

May 1;at Trinity Lutheran;4:30 p.m.

May 5;Hauser Invitational;9 a.m.

May 7;at Edinburgh (with North Decatur);4:30 p.m.

May 9;Brown County;4:30 p.m.

May 12;MHC at North Branch;8 a.m.

May 17;Morristown;4:30 p.m.

May 23;Indian Creek;4:30 p.m.

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5628.