Maize South’s boys golf program has made steady progress toward the state’s elite level.
The Mavericks placed eighth at the Class 4A tournament in 2012 and followed that up with a third-place finish in 5A last season.
Now, with five of six players returning, plus an impact freshman, Maize South is poised to take the next step in the process, which is winning championships.
“In order for us to reach our potential, my job is to get our guys to compete,” coach Steve Martling said. “We’re confident with the high expectations.”
The key for the Mavericks’ growth this season is to build on last season. While it did take third last season, Maize South finished 12 strokes behind champion Kapaun Mount Carmel.
Junior Cole Christian said Maize South cruised into the latter portion of the season and lacked the focus needed to compete for a state title.
Only one player, Alex Schemmer, who graduated, shot in the 70s at state last year. While Christian, Hunter Padgett and Trevor Bauer shot in the low 80s, those scores aren’t good enough to finish first.
“Down the stretch, we didn’t play as well as we needed to,” Christian said. “We’re expecting a lot more this season and to use that experience to be successful this season.”
Maize South’s top player throughout most of last year was Schemmer, and filling that void will undoubtedly be crucial for the Mavericks.
Enter freshman Wells Padgett.
Regarded as one of the top freshmen in the area, Martling said Padgett could be one of the Mavericks’ top players by the time postseason rolls around.
“He’s such a confident player for a freshman,” Martling said. “I think he is going to make a big impact on our team.”
For one team to all belong to the same country club is unique and that is an advantage the Mavericks have as they play all year long at Reflection Ridge.
“As a team, we are all really connected,” Christian said. “We expect a lot out of each other.”
In years past, Maize South didn’t have to deal with the expectation of winning tournaments and placing at state. While the idea is new, it’s not something that overwhelms the Mavericks.
“Whenever we think we’re playing good enough, we push each other even more,” Christian said. “We can’t worry about what other teams are doing. We realize that each of us needs to step individually for the team.”
Area golfers to watch
Andale/Garden Plain: Jordan Anderson, jr., Payton Herbst, jr., Irvin Shueller, jr.
Andover: Larry Harmon, sr., Chris Cunningham, jr., Trent Paske, so., Christian Dell, so.
Andover Central: John Jacobson, jr., Chase Cartwright, sr., Max Peterson, sr.
Area golf schedule
7—East, Heights, Kapaun, North, Northwest, West, Ark City, Trinity, Maize South, Independent at Bishop Carroll Invitational (Auburn Hills), Andover Invitational (Crestview); 10—McPherson Invitational (Turkey Creek), Wellington Invitational; 14—GWAL #1 (Braeburn), Andover Central Invitational (Terradyne); 15—Carroll, Hutchinson, Derby, Ark City, Campus, Valley Center, Winfield, McPherson, El Dorado at Newton Invitational (Sand Creek Station), Augusta Invitational; 21—Kapaun, Andover, Andover Central, Trinity, Independent at Collegiate Invitational (Wichita Country Club); 22—GWAL #2 (Sim), Buhler, Goddard, Hutchinson, Maize South, Trinity at Campus Invitational (Pine Bay); 24—East, North, Northwest, Maize, Eisenhower at Dodge City Invitational (Mariah Hills); 25—Carroll, East, Goddard, Campus, Winfield, Maize South, Circle at Ark City Invitational (Ark City Country Club), Collegiate Classic (Cherry Oaks); 28—Derby Invitational (Derby Country Club), Maize South Invitational (Auburn Hills); 29—GWAL #3 (Clapp), Andale, Maize, Mulvane, Cheney at Clearwater Invitational.
1—Heights, Maize South, Andover Central, Trinity, Andover, Rose Hill at Valley Center Invitational (Sand Creek Station); 2—Carroll, Heights, Kapaun, Northwest, Derby, Eisenhower, Maize, Ark City, Newton, Winfield, McPherson, Campus at Hutchinson Invitational (Carey Park); 5—GWAL #4 (Auburn Hills); 8—Carroll, Hutchinson, Derby, Ark City, Campus, Newton, McPherson, El Dorado at Winfield Invitational (Winfield Country Club), Andover, Andover Central, Augusta, Buhler, Collegiate, Goddard, Maize, Wellington at Eisenhower Invitational (Consolver); 12—AVCTL I-II Championship (Consolver); 13—AVCTL III-IV Championship (Quail Ridge); 14—GWAL Championship (MacDonald); 19—Regionals; 27—State.