GLADSTONE - The Gladstone Braves golf teams are finally slated to kick off their season today; it just won't take place in Gladstone.
Since the course at the Gladstone country club still isn't quite ready for play, Gladstone will now be hosting their quad meet today at the Escanaba Country Club.
The Braves join every other team that has fought against the weather to get their season underway, and it has taken a toll on their usual preseason preparations.
"I'm a little nervous," said Braves coach Dane Quigley. "There hasn't been much time to practice, and even getting into the gym to swing is limited. We've had some indoor equipment the kids have been using for the past month, and they've been out to the driving range a handful of times. I'm interested to see what happens Monday."
Quigley said that as a result of their lack of true practicing, the lineups have not been set in stone yet. He also said that because of the level of competition amongst his roster, things might not be set in stone for some time. Gladstone is set to begin the year with 16 boys and six girls.
This afternoon, the players who will receive the start for the boys will be Ben Lasecki, Dave Dykowski, Eric Lukezich, Alex Lamberg, and Ryan Hubert. The starters for the girls' team will be headed up by Callie Jensen, followed by Paige Tarditt, Paige Cavadeas, Gabby Movalson, and Mackenzie Tardonnet. They are accompanied by Summer Demeuse.
"They are good kids, and they are all students of the game," Quigley said. "Many of them play a lot of golf during the summer. I'm excited for the season. The boys' team is going to definitely improve from last year with the addition of some freshman. So far, they've all been really fun to work with. I expect that we will be competitive."
Those freshmen are Adam Scheeneman, Kyle Pouliot, and Max Strasser. He said that although they are young, they have brought an edge to the team that has him anticipating the season even more.
Jensen returns to the girls' team again this season after putting together an impressive season last year.
"She puts in a lot of work in her game, and she works year round at it," he said. "She has the capability of being one of the top girls in the U.P."
Quigley added that much like some of the other spring sports, a golf team really can't begin to make progress and figure out where they are until they set foot onto the green and actually play.
"We can sit inside and swing all we want, but it's about getting out onto the golf course," he said. "We can't really do skills management because we haven't had any practice doing certain things yet."
This year's team lost three key seniors to graduation, but Quigley believes they will have plenty of other players that will contribute and pick up the slack.
"It's going to be a little tougher, but we still have some components that will give us a chance to be competitive," he said.