When it comes to golf, winning golf titles at Kapaun Mount Carmel is often a matter of business as usual.
The Crusaders have won or tied for the past 12 consecutive City League titles and return enough talent to be a serious contender for No. 13.
Kapaun doesn’t return everyone; Courtney Wells graduated last year and is attending William Jewell College in Missouri on a golf scholarship.
But senior Katie Wells (no relation) is back, and there were times last season when she and Courtney would be battling for medalist honors. Also back for the Crusaders is junior Kali Babich and sophomores Hannah Perkins and Hannah Johnston. All three were City League honorable-mention selections last year.
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Also back is senior Manuela Nivia, who sat out her junior season in 2011 to eliminate distractions while taking honors and advanced-placement courses. In 2010, she medaled in the state tournament as a sophomore.
Coach Dan Phillips, in his fifth season, said Nivia is gradually returning to form.
“She’s a little rusty, but she’s not too far away,” he said. “Katie and Hannah (Perkins) are playing well, and everybody else is making progress little by little.”
Phillips will get a good idea of how his team stacks up Tuesday, when the Crusaders take part in the season-opening Andover Invitational at Wichita State’s Braeburn Golf Course. Even though Andover is host school for the event, Braeburn is Kapaun’s home course.
This might alleviate a few opening jitters, Phillips said.
“It’s nice to play the first tournament on our home course,” he said. “We’ll have the comfort of home when we face a tough field.
“You’ve got to start somewhere, and this tournament will let you know what you need to work on.”
The Crusaders find themselves somewhat thriving with the returning talent, especially at a time when 2011’s City League contenders also have holes to fill.
Bishop Carroll graduated two of its top payers, Victoria Harmon and Lakin Ubert; Northwest is missing Staisha Miller, a West student who played for the Grizzlies during City League tournaments; Margaret Ekeler is gone from North; East loses Kayla Steelsmith .