Coaches report: Minot boys golf HC Shane Hannegrefs
The Minot High varsity golf team plans to have its first practice of the spring season on Monday.
The 2019 WDA West Region champions look to continue their success under Shane Hannegrefs, who enters his eighth season as head coach of the program. Meanwhile, the team’s first meet of the year will be at the Dickinson Invite on Friday, April 16.
The Minot Daily News reached out to Hannegrefs to get his thoughts on the upcoming 2021 campaign and his expectations for the defending region champs. Here is what Hannegrefs had to say via email.
MDN: How have things been going as you prepare for the season?
Hannegrefs: With the nice weather in March, the golf courses have been open a few weeks early and I expect that many of our student-athletes have taken advantage by getting to the practice areas and a few rounds on the golf courses.
Once our season starts, we will have tournaments the first weekend starting in Dickinson on April 16th and Bismarck Tom O’Leary on April 17th. The amount of time spent preparing before April 12 should be a huge benefit.
MDN: What are your expectations for your team this spring?
Hannegrefs: We expect to have a competitive team across our region and the state. Fortunately, due to the dedication of our golfers we have had success the past several years, I believe the present group of student-athletes will continue putting in an effort to be successful.
MDN: With the spring sports calendar being interrupted last year because of the virus, how will the extended time off impact the athletes this season?
Hannegrefs: The biggest difference for many of our kids will be physically. Many of our current players have grown and gotten considerably stronger. They should be hitting it further and we will need to spend time on controlling our ball flight and distances.
MDN: Who are some of your top returning golfers and what makes them stand out amongst the other competitors?
Hannegrefs: Individually we will rely on all-state senior Gavin Argent to be a leader. As a sophomore, Gavin led the WDA with the lowest scoring average. He was able to win twice that year and finished in the top three in eight out the 10 conference rounds. His consistency off the tee often sets Gavin up to be a steady contender every tournament.
Having had several young guys as members of our team two years ago, we are lucky to return four other kids who played in a state tournament. Ashton Heilman, a junior, finished his freshman season just outside of the top 10 in the WDA scoring, I expect him to be consistent because he is very good saving pars with his putting and chipping ability.
Peyton Bartsch, another junior, was able to perform well at our region meet his freshman year and made all-region. Peyton competes hard and is driven to succeed. He has shown a good overall set of skills and really improved his short game as a freshman. Senior Jake Theis qualified for state individually his sophomore season and has shown the ability to make several birdies in a round. He has always been able to produce a lot of swing speed, so he has been working to improve his wedge play and that will help develop consistently good scores.
MDN: Who are some of your younger golfers who you expect to make major strides this year?
Hannegrefs: Henry Langhans and Casey Fjeld are kids who have dedicated time the last two summers to improving their play and I expect each of them to post some good tournament rounds. We have several other younger kids who are also capable of competing for varsity spots. I’m excited to see their improvement and potential.
MDN: What is your favorite aspect of beginning a brand-new season?
Hannegrefs: The optimism at the start is always exciting. I enjoy each day being around some great young men. The golf courses transform from brown to green during our season and each year we have had a kid who just seems to transform much the same way and become a very good player.
What has really made an impact on me the last few years is reflecting on how the guys on these teams have really grown together, embrace and take pride in their team. That is a tradition we expect to continue because the kids who lead our team have tremendous character.