The 2017 season will be a bit different for the Woodland Warriors golf team.
After years of fielding strong female competitors who could not only hit with but outscore the boys, including The Times Girls Golfer of the Year four consecutive years — Shelby Keen in 2016 and 2015, Olivia Ruff in 2014 and 2013 — there are no young ladies playing for this fall's Warriors.
And after years of calling Twin Creeks Golf Course home, the Warriors will be a bit nomadic this year with the course's closure, playing a road schedule as well as hosting meets at three different "home" courses — Anderson Fields, the Eastwood and Wolf Creek.
"Yeah, it's kind of a different year," said WHS coach Jordan Farris. "We have a lot of new faces, but we do have a few returners, and four of them have been with me three or four years, so they know what my expectations are ... and with us having had such a great run with sending girls to the state tournament but not having any girls this year, hopefully we can get a boy through to keep the tradition going."
That good group of veteran leaders includes two seniors and two juniors. Tyler Jenkins, an 11th-grader, was the last Warrior playing last season after placing fifth at the team's Class 1A regional, qualifying for sectionals and earning a spot on The Times All-Area Honor Roll. Fellow junior Eric Schultz also returns, as do senior leaders Alex Redd and Tony Leskanich.
Joining them are a trio of sophomores and a couple of freshmen — 10th-graders Brad Simpson, Trevor Derossett and Christian Miller, ninth-graders Nick Leskanich and Nolan Bressi.
"We have a really good group to usher in the younger guys, kind of show them the ropes," Farris said, "but there is lots of green there. No pun intended."
While the returning four of Tony Leskanich, Redd, Jenkins and Schultz look poised to fill out the top of the scorecard, any combination of those underclassmen could assume varsity spots as the Warriors get the season underway Thursday against Tri-County Conference foe Roanoke-Benson at Tall Oaks Country Club.
"They're up for grabs," said Farris of his last two varsity slots. "I don't have anyone penciled in right now.
"I think what we're working toward is looking for good fits at the bottom of the rotation. We're looking for a couple players to step in and step up ... and if we can get some good competition going among the guys to battle for those spots, I'd say we could have a pretty successful season."