Truckee golf preview: Wolverines look to win back-to-back state titles
You know a coach thinks highly of his players when he flies them out to South Carolina midseason to compete in a national tournament.
Truckee golf coach Jeff Froelich was en route to South Carolina on Wednesday, taking five of his top golfers to compete among a field of 120 teams in the three-day Palmetto High School Golf Championships in Myrtle Beach.
“As a result of our state championship (last year), I felt I could take this team and represent this part of the state pretty well,” Froelich said by cell phone from the Phoenix, Ariz., airport, where he and his team awaited a connecting flight.
Along with Froelich were Daniel Gelso, Bryce Poulin, Will Collin, Ethan Harman and Allan Nousiainen. All are returning seniors except Nousiainen, a junior transfer from the Bay Area.
“It’s a great opportunity for the kids,” Froelich said of the Myrtle Beach tournament. “As a coach I see it two ways ” I see the kids getting (experience) against a high level of competition, and I see it as a way to bond together. I think that is important to the team.”
The tournament starts Thursday with a qualifier to divvy up the 120 teams into 10 divisions. Froelich hopes his crew plays well enough to qualify for a top division in the Friday and Saturday competition.
Meanwhile in their absence, the senior-heavy Wolverines boast enough depth to compete in the regularly scheduled Northern 3A tournament Friday ” to be hosted by Yerington at Eagle Valley Golf Course.
“I’m counting on those six guys we left behind to do well at Eagle Valley,” Froelich said.
Truckee already has two league wins under its belt in two tries, as the Wolverines won tournaments at Fernley and Sparks to open the season. The goal this year is to repeat state champions, and the consensus is that the group has the skills and depth to pull it off, despite losing four seniors to graduation.
“I think we’re looking good,” said Poulin, the team’s co-captain along with Harman. “We have four returning seniors from last year’s state championship team, and Allan (Nousiainen) coming in as a junior makes the team even fuller. So I think we’re the same strong force as last year.”
Like last season, Froelich brings the four lowest-scorers from each tournament to the next competition, while the other two challenge their teammates for the final two spots in practice during the week.
Last Thursday Truckee took first place at Sparks, posting a low score of 430. Spring Creek and Lowry ” likely the Wolverines’ stiffest competition in the North, Froelich said ” tied for second with 473 points apiece.
While Joey Dendary shot a low score of 77, Gelso and Nousiainen led Truckee with 80s, followed by teammates Collin (84), Harman (89), Poulin (97) and Matt Hoehn (101).
Scores were high across the board because of “miserable” cold weather, Froelich said.
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