Perry boys hope experience will help slice scores

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Varsity golfers Ryan Rathje, Connor Nielsen, Noah Wilkening and Kade VanKirk return for Perry this season. They will be joined on the roster by Luke Rathje, Tanner Darr, Tanner Duffy, Dane McCarty and Justin Stammer. Teams play with six varsity golfers and count the four lowest scores.

“Everybody is going to have to step up a few spots from last year.”

That was the initial comment from Perry boys golf head coach Nick Field when he was asked to look ahead to the 2016 season.

“Jack (Brosnahan) and Will (Whiton) are gone, so that means guys are going to have to pick up the slack,” Field said. “I expect Noah Wilkening to be our number one, but there could be quite a battle, not just for the number two spot, but for three, four, five and six as well.”

Teams field six golfers at meets, with the four lowest scores used.

Wilkening was third on the squad as a sophomore last year, averaging just over 81 strokes per 18 holes.

Connor Nielsen, Ryan Rathje and Kade VanKirk were also regular swingers for the varsity last year and all will be counted upon to contribute again this spring.

“I have faith in all of them and know they are going to play well,” Field said. “With two spots above them gone, we are going to need them to drop a few strokes, but I am confident that they can do just that.

“What we are going to have to have is for some of the other guys to prove they can play at the varsity level,” he added. “I believe we have the talent and believe we can fill those holes, but at this point it remains to be seen.”

Perry finished 26-19 against all opponents and 7-2 in dual meets. Field is hoping the team can match those numbers.

“There are some good teams out there and there will be times that we are going to struggle,” Field admitted. “What will matter is how well we overcome those, whether we can make sure one bad round does not turn into two or three.”

Perry opens on the road Tuesday with a trip to Ballard. The Perry Golf and Country Club will see the Bluejays make the rounds for the first time Thursday when Des Moines Christian and Greene County visit for a triangular. Both meets are scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

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