The Lake Havasu boys golf team is already off to a good start as they won their first match over Buckeye and Glendale Apollo on Aug. 16 as a team and four Knights finished in the top five at Sundance Golf Club in Buckeye.
This is a step in right direction for Havasu, especially since as a team the Knights have not been able to practice on the course so far. However, moving practice from the afternoon to the early hours of the morning is something Lake Havasu coach Mike Washington said is going to benefit the team going forward.
“We have not had a chance to see everybody on the course yet and that tough,” Washington said. “Having a gap in the morning is great because we actually get to practice. Last year we were practicing in the afternoon and ending up having to cancel.
“This is the first season we’ve gone to a morning practice in August, so we’ll find out how it works. So far, I’m really optimistic about the good it brings.”
Even though the season is still young, good has obviously fallen upon the Knights with the victory. But it was the leaders of the team that got them there.
Last year Havasu had zero seniors on the team. This year, with most of the roster back and a couple of new faces — six freshman and junior Jaeden Hill who moved to Havasu from Las Vegas — the Knights have seven upperclassmen and a nice core of leadership.
Senior Noah Elias, who took second after shooting a round of 40 at the Buckeye match, is just one of the few guys Washington asked to step up in that position this year and he’s been taking to the role.
“We have a lot of potential on this team,” Elias said. “So if we work with that potential then we will be able to win even when I’m not her and other people aren’t here.”
Other golfers Washington expects to lead include senior William Van Rooy and junior Daniel Dion.
The Knights host their first home meet on Aug. 30 as Buckeye Verrado and Phoenix Cortez come into town. From there, Havasu will be on the road for the next six matches before returning home for a four-game homestand before the state tournament in Tucson.
If there is one thing the Knights want to accomplish this season it would, of course, be sending golfers to the state tournament. Beyond that though, Washington wants his players to focus on grasping the game and honing in their shots to develop into well-rounded golfers.
“We want to make sure we are focused on the process, not the product,” Washington said. “That’s not only for a match but its also shot-by-shot. If they’re too concerned about the outcome, they’re not focused on getting the ball to where they want it to go. We’re just trying to focus on everything they can control because once the ball leaves the clubface, they don’t control it anymore.”
For the girl’s team, the season kicks off at home on Aug. 30 when the Knights host Kingman and Lee Williams.
Havasu has four returning golfers and eight new ones joining the team this year. The Knights are a younger team this year but the outlook so far on the season is it will be a success.
“We lost two seniors to graduation but I think overall we are looking good with the eight girls that have come out,” Lake Havasu coach Jerome Kosters said. “I’ve been watching and it seems like they have the knack for golf and are catching on quickly.”
Of the returning golfers, senior Alexa Alba and sophomore Jenica Delaney are expected to be the leaders on the course.
Of course, both of the golfer’s goals this season are to qualify for state. Especially Alba with this being her final season on the team.
“I for sure want to go to state with the team,” Alba said. “Last year we qualified individually but it would be cool to go as a team.”
With the Knights being so young this year, there is room to go for feature seasons. Delaney, who said she lowered her score by 10 strokes over the summer, see the team going in the right direction this year and beyond.
“There are a lot more players this year then there was last year,” Delaney said. “So that good for the team. The more players the better. When we start getting better, more people come in and that’s just more people we can help out.”
The bulk of Havasu’s home matches come towards the end of the season with four straight before the state tournament in Tucson. That’s a good thing since most of the players said they prefer to play on their home course because they know it well.
Alba, Delaney and California transfer Terra Scribner are expected to occupy the top three out of the five spots going into the season for the Knights. The remaining two are up for grabs, but Kosters said for what he’s seen it should not be long before Havasu has its starting five.
“We’ll see how many of those girls can progress and get up to lower 50’s or upper 40’s in the score,” Kosters said. “But like I said, some of them are picking it up quickly. We have a couple of sisters, Autumn and Brook Porter, who are progressing well among others. So we should be in good shape.”