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Strong returners lead way for Fieldcrest

One might think it’s a big disadvantage to have only five players on a high school golf team. However, when those five are the quality of those taking the course for the Fieldcrest High School this fall, it’s not so bad.

It may not even stop the Knights from getting to the state’s biggest stage.
Of the five players FHS coach Matt Winkler has in his charge, two of them were sectional qualifiers last year as sophomores and the three others are talented freshmen who are the golf equivalent of basketball gym rats, something the coach knows a little about. Together, they just may get the Knights as a group pretty far along in the IHSA postseason.
“We have two very good juniors and three pretty good freshmen,” said Winkler. “Our goal is to make it to state as a team, of course, and if that doesn’t happen, we should get at least two guys to state.”
Junior Nick Mariotti shot an 87 at the El-Paso/Gridley 1A Regional played at the El Paso Golf Club, earning him 11th place overall and the fifth of the 10 golfers not on advancing teams. His classmate, Clay Wells, was 17th in the field and in a three-way tie for eighth.
“They both went through it all last year so they’ll know exactly what it will take to get to the state golf tournament. They’ve been playing all summer long, and they are in really good form right now. They drive the ball well, use irons well and shoot and putt the ball well. They just have to be sure they manage the golf course, and the rest will take care of itself.”
Winkler noted that the veterans are already being a good influence on the three freshmen: Isaac Morse, Christian Skaggs and Koy Allen, who should return from having an appendectomy by the season opener next Thursday against Heyworth and Tremont at the Tall Oaks Country Club.
“The freshmen are all talented golfers,” Winkler said, “they love the game and play it often, and they’re pretty good at it. I’m excited about the possibilities this season.”
Nine golfers are out for coach Judy McNamara's girls team, led by a pair of returning sectional qualifiers/Times Honor Roll members from a year ago — senior Payton Faulk and junior Alivia Tjaden.
Seniors Kamryn Mance and Kaitlyn Swartz, juniors Faith Theesfield, Elena Kearfott and Kylie Gaspardo, sophomore Emily Medley and freshman Savannah Fortner round out the Knights roster.

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