Varsity Kansas

Kapaun turns to sophomore golfers for leadership

Kapaun Mount Carmel golfers Matthew Gilbaugh, left, Nick Auer and Sam Stevens hope to lead the Crusaders to a City League title. (March 27, 2012)
Kapaun Mount Carmel golfers Matthew Gilbaugh, left, Nick Auer and Sam Stevens hope to lead the Crusaders to a City League title. (March 27, 2012) The Wichita Eagle

Last season ended in disappointment at the 5A tournament for Kapaun boys golf coach Dan Phillips. At the end of a great 2011 season that saw his team capture a City League title, the Crusaders had a day they would rather forget.

“We picked the wrong day to have a bad day,” Phillips said. “It happens in life. You’re going to have a bad day now and then. But we had a phenomenal year last year, just didn’t have a good day at state.”

It’s a new year now, and with the graduation of departed seniors Jack Cantele, David Auer and Kory Glasgow, it’s also a new top three. Those three are all sophomores: Sam Stevens, Matthew Gilbaugh and Nick Auer.

They are not, however, normal sophomores. All three were All-City League selections last year, and Stevens finished sixth at the state tournament.

“I’ve put a lot of the leadership on their shoulders, so they’re having to learn to be leaders, not just take care of themselves but take care of the rest of the team,” Phillips said.

While he knows it is an unusual role to have sophomores in, Phillips is not hesitant about giving them the reigns.

“It’s a unique situation to have sophomores do that, but they’re good kids and good players,” Phillips said.

And, maybe most importantly, none of them seem fazed by their new role.

“I’d say we all have experience,” Gilbaugh said. “We’re used to the pressure, not only from high school golf but outside tournaments in the summer.”

It is that poise about the task at hand that gives Phillips confidence about replacing last year’s three seniors.

“It’s tough, but it would be a lot tougher if I didn’t have these three,” Phillips said. “We’re real fortunate to be in this situation and know that I’ve got these kids for the next three years.”

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