SPRING SPORTS: Greater expectations for Merrill golf in 2018
Head Coach: Joe Mertens (with the team since 1986).
Assistant Coaches: Bill Hauswirth (19 years); Andy Plisch (2 years).
2017 Record: “In 2017 we finished last or 7th in the conference, did not advance beyond regionals as a team,” coach Mertens said. “However, our team last year was led by Valley Golf Conference champion Freshman Russell Dettmering. Russell won conference after seven matches, the first to do it as a freshman in a long time. Russell’s yearly average after 15 rounds was 75.75 for 18 holes highlighted by a 6 under par 66 at our Bluejay Invitational and a 2 under par 70 round at the difficult Northwoods golf course where he won and advanced as an individual to sectional competition. During sectionals at Riveredge golf course in Marshfield, Russell shot 79 and lost in playoff for a spot to compete at State. Russell, to say the least, is looking forward to competing this year with goals of repeating conference champion and not only going to state but winning it.”
Key Returners: Other key players for the Bluejays include junior Hunter Wallace who played #2 man last year. Hunter was also chosen for the All State Academic Team for his excellence not only on the golf course but in the classroom. Other key varsity players returning are senior Nicolas Roman, Junior Mitchael Cammack, and Sophomore Carson Baguhn. More players with good promise are Freshman Ivan Thorson; Sophomores Mike Casper, Dan Pepke, Riley Schots, Gary Hoffman; and Junior Hunter Hintz.
Key Losses: None.
Key Newcomers: Newcomers this year are Juniors Travis Wright, Keary Hanig; Seniors Frederick Piepenbrok and Zivorad Acimovic (foreign exchange student from Switzerland); and Sophomores Isabella Laufenberg, Tyler Frederick and Dawson Dengel.
2017 Recap: “Last year we had a young team but a team with great golf enthusiasm and potential,” Mertens said. “I have higher expectations this year, Our best team finish was third at our own 11 team invitational, and at that event we witnessed a record breaking winning performance from Russell and Hunter shooting a best ball team score of -9 under par to win the event.”
2018 Outlook: “As coach, I am excited for this season to begin,” Mertens added, “although mother nature has determined that it will be a late start. Watch for our team scores, our individual scores, and come out to see the kids play.”
A Final Word From The Coach: “Thanks to our booster club and the community’s financial support of that club, we will be carrying new Bluejay golf bags this year and wearing new team shirts representative of the pride these kids have being a Bluejay. Spectators are welcome to come and view the competition. We host a conference meet on May 4, our invitational on May 12, and the Valley Regional state tournament on May 22.”
2018 MHS Varsity Golf Schedule
Thu, April 12: 4:30 p.m. @ Edgewater Country Club (Tomahawk) – cancelled
Tue, April 17: 2:00 p.m. @ Ridges Golf Course (Wisconsin Rapids)
Fri, April 20: 2:00 p.m. @ Greenwood Hills Country Club (Wausau)
Tue, April 24: 2:00 p.m. @ Wausau Country Club (Weston)
Fri, April 27: 2:00 p.m. @ Ridges Golf Course (Wisconsin Rapids)
Tue, May 1: 2:00 p.m. @ Pine Valley Golf Course (Wausau)
Fri, May 4: 2:00 p.m. @ Merrill Golf Course
Tue, May 8: 2:00 p.m. @ Rivers Edge Golf Course (Marshfield)
Fri, May 11: 2:00 p.m. @ Wausau Country Club (Weston)
Sat, May 12: 9:00 a.m. @ Merrill Golf Course
Tue. May 15: 2:00 p.m. @ Stevens Point Country Club
Fri, May 18: 2:00 p.m. @ Greenwood Hills Country Club (Wausau)
Tue, May 22: 9:00 a.m. @ Merrill Golf Course (Regional)