Thursday, April 18, 2024

Balanced Dragons ready to tee it up

Lakeside enters the 2021 season with seven returning golfers and a well-balanced lineup that should set the Dragons up for continued success.

“We will have a nice mix of players across all four classes on our team this year,” said second-year Lakeside coach Andy Kiphart. “We will need our upperclassmen to use their experience and take on a leadership role to help our younger players get their feet underneath them at the beginning of the season.”

The Dragons, who finished 6-12 in dual matches last season, have the ability to trim their scores and flip their win-loss record, but that success is dependent upon each player’s ability to bounce back from an errant shot and other tough conditions faced on the course.

“Our ability to compete will hinge on our ability to handle adversity,” Kiphart said. “Mental toughness will play a key role in our success this season.”

Sophomore Zack Palmer returns after a strong freshman season that ended with him earning the team’s MVP award.

Palmer averaged 51.9 strokes per nine holes last season.

“Zack played in our No. 1 position most of his freshman year,” Kiphart said. “This experience has helped build his confidence, which I hope pays dividends for us this year.”

Lakeside’s projected varsity lineup also includes junior Kamron Crockett, senior Tanner Jensen, freshman Jack Varckette, and senior Hayden Kelner.

“Kamron has arguably shown the most improvement on our team from last year to this year. His ball-striking and short game have both taken major steps forward. As his confidence continues to grow, his scores should continue to drop,” Kiphart said. “Tanner has all of the physical tools to be a successful golfer. Our goal for this season is to gain mental consistency, which is vital to success in the game of golf. Hayden has also shown great improvement from last year. Hayden has also taken on a leadership role in helping our younger golfers along over the summer.”

Varckette showed plenty of potential this summer and now he’ll have the chance to sustain that success in varsity matches and tournaments.

“Jack has been striking the ball well all summer,” Kiphart said. “As his confidence in his short game grows, he has the potential to become a very good golfer. We are excited to see how he progresses throughout his freshman season.”

Senior Ashton Jones, a two-year letter winner, junior Ty Hamilton, and sophomore Nathaniel Crayton will provide the Dragons with experienced depth.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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