With four returning players from the team that brought Edmond North its sixth consecutive Class 6A team state championship, it's easy to pencil in the Huskies as the favorites to win No. 7.
State runner-up and Oklahoma signee Austen Fuller, along with fellow seniors Alec Heinen — who signed with Wichita State — and Caleb Myers lead the way, but a trio of freshmen are ready to battle with Eli Armstrong for the final two spots.
Nick Heinen, Sam Humphreys and Hayden Wood have been impressive during early qualifying rounds for coach Jeff Doherty's squad.
“This might be the deepest freshman class we've had, including Kevin Tway's class,” the coach said. “Will they be the best class? You don't know that. But I don't think being freshmen is going to matter to them when they get on the course. I don't think they'll be nervous at all.”
NO HOOPS FOR MOORE
Taylor Moore's sophomore season got off to a slow start. The Edmond Memorial golfer suffered a wrist injury during basketball season before rebounding to win the 6A individual golf title.
For his junior year, Moore decided to stay off the hardwood as he tries to repeat as state champ. He finished last season by winning the conference, regional and state tournaments.
“No basketball this year,” Moore said with a laugh. “I've been in the weight room since November.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to win, so I wouldn't say that there's any added pressure. We feel we can be good as a team. We have all five back and we understand that it's not just one person who is going to help us win.”
FARRIS READY FOR SOPHOMORE CAMPAIGN
After a fantastic freshman year, Caitlin Farris won't get a chance to repeat as the Class 4A girls state champion.
She and her Bishop McGuinness team have moved up to Class 5A this season. The Irish return most of the team that won the 4A team title last year, led by Farris, who won the individual title by nine strokes.
Now, everyone knows about her and she could face added pressure in her sophomore season. But Todd Farris, her father and coach, tries to keep the focus on the team to minimize any extra pressure.
“I keep her grounded by maintaining an emphasis on our team by being part of something bigger than herself with the ultimate goal of winning team championships for the Bishop McGuinness community,” Todd Farris said. “I make sure she understands that playing well for her school community and teammates is the most important aspect.
“If she focuses on that then everything else will work itself out individually if it is meant to be.”
MUSTANG BUILDING AROUND TIGERT
The Mustang girls made an incredible run through the regular season, winning or tying for first place in every tournament played before state. A rough week at The Oaks Country Club in Tulsa led to a fourth-place finish at state, but the Broncos will try to build off the strong season, despite losing two key players.
Karson Bizzell graduated and Charter Lawson — the team's top finisher at state last year as a sophomore — has moved to Houston to attend a golf academy.
But June Tigert, coming off a 14th-place finish at state, is ready to be the team's leader.
“I like being able to help the other players, and I want them to be able to look up to me,” said Tigert, a junior who won two tournaments last year. “I want to work harder this year. The goal is always to win.
“It's exciting when you play good and you're winning. You get more confident on the course, instead of being nervous.”