Demon, Demonette golfers prepare for fall season
By Tyler Anderson, Sports Editor
Sep 7, 2017, 00:00
In the beginning of every season, there is a sense of optimism among the members of any team.
The sense of bright beginnings holds true with teams strapping on their helmets and taking the field, or teams who call the volleyball home. There are also teams whose equipment is a shirt, shorts and a pair of running shoes. There are teams who pick up the racket and play on the tennis court.
But you can’t forget the teams who take to the golf course, packing their favorite clubs alongside those optimistic feelings.
Along with other golf teams in the Texas Panhandle, the Dumas boys’ and girls’ golf teams begin their season in the fall to prepare themselves for the spring portion of the schedule.
Along with his Demons and Demonettes, head golf coach Charlie Nelson shares in that excitement for a new season.
“We are excited,” Nelson said of the upcoming campaign. “I think it’s an exciting time, because we’re going to start seeing some of our young players moving up into the varsity ranks.”
The Demons and Demonettes will jumpstart their 2017 side of the slate on Friday, when they venture south and west to participate in the Hereford Invitational. The two-day meet will be held at the John Pitman Golf Club in Hereford.
Compared to seasons before, the Demonettes will quite younger this season, as the lone senior going into 2017-2018 will be Mia Guevara. Claire Thompson will also return to help Guevara anchor the defending District 3-5A champions.
“We only return two girls of our district championship and regional qualifying team last year,” Nelson said of the Demonettes. “But they are important leaders for our team. We’re going to ask a lot out of them, and they will have to lead this young team.”
“Mia and Claire will have to show the younger players what it’s all about,” Nelson continued. “They have the experience, but now, they have to pass it on to the young kids.”
While the Demonettes dip into the fountain of youth for hopes of a District 3-5A three-peat, the Demons will bring an ample amount of experience to the table.
“We’re returning three of our top players,” Nelson said of the boys’ side of the golf program. “We’re going to ask a lot out of senior Branton Hatley, junior Ty Bynum and Matthew Vasquez. Those three are returning, along with other returners and some young players.”
To complement the experience of Hatley, Bynum and Vasquez, there is a strong chance that a freshman may see a lot of playing time on the varsity level.
With so much youth in the ranks, that enthusiasm has permeated in the Demon and Demonette golf squads.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Nelson said. “I think that the kids have bought into that, they know that there are some opportunities. I’m seeing it at practice, seeing them become a little more serious when they’re out on the course.”
To develop his younger players, Nelson will provide them with a proverbial baptism by fire.
“We’re going to throw them into the fire,” Nelson said. “They have to get out there and see what they’re capable of. It’ll be eye opening for the young players, but it’ll be a test and we’re looking forward to it.”
While the February seems like it is quite some time away, the fall season provides some playing time before the winter sets in.
“We see all of the teams in the district through the fall,” Nelson said of the diagnostic portion of the two-part golf season. “We’ll play three big tournaments on the boys’ side and two tournaments on the girls’ side.”
Among the three big events for the Demons will be the Red Raider Classic and a trip to Abilene, where they will face up to 30 squads. According to Nelson, there will be many potential regional qualifiers who will make their way to Abilene.
Last but not least for the boys and girls will the Dumas Invitational, which will be held in October.
“We’ll get to size up our competition,” Nelson said. “For the girls, we’re still district champs until someone knocks us off. We’re trying to instill that confidence in our girls, and I’m hoping that our leaders will pass that on to the young ones.”
“On the boys’ side, we’re still looking to send a full team to regionals,” Nelson added, commenting on the Demons’ quest to climb toward the upper echelon of the district. “We have sent some individuals, which is great, but we want to send a team. So, we’re going to see the likes of Amarillo High, Randall and Canyon. We know that we can be competitive, but it’s nice to match up with them and see where we’re at.”
While the autumn gauges how lineups will shake out, there are just five spots available for the Demon and Demonette varsity teams. There will be plenty of players who will be aiming to ascend the ranks on either side.
Along with Guevara and Thompson, who Nelson praised and will expect big things from, there will be sophomores Addison Cross and Katie Gillespie who will possibly aid the Demonettes. There will also be plenty of freshmen that Nelson noted as “having a ton of potential.”
The Demons will see senior Ethan Long contribute heavily, while players such as Olivas, Mason Shockey, Bryan Bednorz and Michael Gross will aim to see substantial playing time on the varsity level.
“We’re excited about what we have,” Nelson said of his teams overall. “You never know when it finally kicks in with one of our players and all of a sudden, they learn how to play golf. You can be as mechanical as you want, but when you get on the course, you have to know how to play. These fall tournament and triangulars, everything we do before district, puts them into that mode where they learn how to play.”
“We’re still learning on how to translate our driving range game to the golf course,” Nelson added. “That’s part of the youth that we have. We must be able to take things mentally from practice to a tournament. Hopefully, we can do a good job of that this year."