2020 Results: Season canceled due to COVID-19
The last time the Princeton boys golf team took to an event as a team, they were run rampant with youth as the five of the six scoring golfers on the squad were sophomores or younger.
Two years later, after missing the 2020 season due to COVID-19, those young golfers have matured and look to show their improvement.
With many of the Tiger golfers that are returning to the team being sophomores or younger the last time they played for Princeton, it doesn’t mean they aren’t experienced according to Head Coach Derek Hasselberg. “The five varsity returning players have two to three years of varsity experience each. They are definitely veterans by all accounts,” he said, as Michael Angstman, Noah Temp, Lucas Ostlund, Luke Dufner and Jake Patnode each brings at least a few years of varsity golf back to the team.
Though returning five of their six varsity golfers from their 2019 season, the one golfer lost to graduation was a state caliber player in Jack Southard.
Losing Southard is a blow to the team, but Dufner has faith in the guys returning to step up and carry the load left by the standout. “Missing Jack Southard kind of hurts, but I think we are going to recover back here. We just have to keep grinding,” said Dufner.
As COVID-19 led to the canceling of last season, the Tigers still worked hard to improve their game to overcome the departure of Southard.
Hasselberg believes with the time off, his team took advantage of being able to golf during the pandemic. “With last year, for a lot of kids the only thing to do was to play golf. I think they will be better than where they left off,” said Hasselberg.
Patnode, now a sophomore, agreed that last year allowed for lots of rounds to be played by the Princeton crew. “It helped us, we got a lot of golf in,” he said.
With the experienced players returning as well as time to play last summer, the Tigers have high expectations for this season. “I think as a team, we will be really good. We have a lot of returning players that have varsity experience and I think we have a lot of success,” said Angstman, now a senior.
Hasselberg also has expectations for the squad as he anticipates a finish towards the top of the conference at the end of the year. “Conference wise, we are going to be right in the mix. We should be very, very competitive.”
Angstman took the predictions a step further. “One of our goals is to get first in our conference and hopefully move on as a team to state,” he said.
If the Tigers hope to accomplish their goals, they know it won’t be an easy path to do so.
Ostlund and the rest the of the squad aim to put in the work together as a team and believe the results will follow. “We have to practice every day and make sure we are getting better. We have to be playing our best and not giving up. We have to play together and get better together,” he said.
With the hard work put in during the season and offseason, Hasselberg doesn’t rule out Princeton once again sending a golfer to compete in the state tournament. “We have some kids that do have the potential to put two rounds together to make it to state,” said Hasselberg.
The Tigers got their chance to tee off on the season on April 13, heading to Monticello with high expectations for the year.