The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 10, 2014

State experience keeps Haley on course

West girls welcome new coach in 2014

By Chad Courrier
The Mankato Free Press

---- — MANKATO — Carter Haley was already dedicated to golf, but after playing in the state tournament last season, Haley really turned it up last summer, playing golf all but two days.

During that “break,” he attended the PGA Championship to watch the pros swing the clubs.

“The state experience helped a lot,” coach Nate Fuller said. “He’s always been motivated and dedicated, but he become even more dedicated after that.”

Haley, a junior, is the only returning player at either Mankato school to play in the state tournament a year ago, tying for 38th by shooting 119 (40-40-39) in the weather-shortened event.

“It was a good experience for if I get back there,” Haley said. “I look forward to preparing to make it again.”

The Cougars had their lowest stroke average in many years at 327, led by Haley at 79.3. Other returning varsity players are junior Chris Sadaka (84.3), senior Josh Sloniker (86.3) and senior Bryce Milbrandt (92.1).

The Cougars finished seventh in the Big Nine and second in Section 2AA.

“I think we can be in the top three or four in the Big Nine,” Fuller said. “The guys are excited to get the season started. I think we can be very competitive in every match.”

Haley said that he and a couple other players can consistently shoot in the 70s. He’s longer off the tee, and he said the experience he’s gained in the last year will pay off in better decisions.

“Last year, the physical game was good, but the mental game is where I’m better now,” Haley said. “It should help me shoot lower scores.”

East opens the season Saturday at the Marshall Invitational.

Mankato West boys

The Scarlets have a strong group of seniors, led by Matt Newman, who was an All-Big Nine selection after finishing third at the conference tournament.

“Matt has already played a lot of golf this year,” coach Jon Andersen said. “The ball is so pure coming off his club.

“His hard work is paying off, and he’s driven. He wants to win the Big Nine, he wants to go to state. He has a lot of goals, and they’re all attainable.”

Senior Galt Goettl is back after missing last season following knee and wrist surgery. The other seniors who played varsity golf last season were Justin Else and Jordan Hellie. Senior Brett Mulligan will also play some varsity golf.

Junior Louie Colway was West’s second-best player in the last half of last season, and sophomore Tripp Bastian got varsity experience in 2013, as well.

“Having Galt back really helps us,” Andersen said. “The younger kids should be better. I really think we can contend for the Big Nine title.”

West begins the season Saturday at the Marshall Invitational.

Mankato East girls

This will be the fourth season of varsity golf for seniors Caylin Steinberg and Caitlin Clause, and senior Amanda Broman also has a lot of varsity experience. Other returning letterwinners are seniors Molly Manning, Emily Stengle and Alexis Just.

The Cougars finished fifth at the Big Nine meet.

“We’re hoping to finish a little higher,” coach Aaron Anderson said. “Everything we’ve done so far has been indoors so hopefully it will be nice enough to get outside.”

East has competed in Class AAA the last two seasons but returns to Class AA this season.

East opens the season today with a dual meet against New Ulm at North Links Golf Course.

Mankato West girls

Aaron Miller was just named the head coach this week so he’s learning things about the roster, which includes returning varsity players Emily Smith and Kendra Allen, both of whom are seniors.

Juniors Mari Buseth, Maddie Mueller and Claire Patterson and sophomore Jisoo Kim are expected challenge for varsity spots, too.

“The seniors all cheer for each other,” Miller said. “We had one senior advance to the second day of the section tournament last year, and we’re hoping one of the seniors can get that far again.”

West’s first meet is Saturday at the Marshall Invitational.