By ALAN HOSKINS
KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Thanks in no small part to archrival Johnson County Community College, Gary Shrader may be fielding his best team in 15 years as head golf coach at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
With four proven sophomore veterans already returning for the 2014-15 season, Shrader got additional help with the transfer of two All-Jayhawk Conference performers from JCCC, which dropped golf from its intercollegiate program following the end of the 2013-14 season. And that’s not counting four promising freshmen newcomers.
“It’s still early but with four all-conference players we have a solid foundation around which to build,” says Shrader. “We’re starting to get our qualifying rounds under full scale playing conditions.”
Heading the list of Blue Devil returnees are Lane Pauls of Newton, a second team All-KJCCC selection this past spring, and Seve Sites of SM West, who earned All-KJCCC honorable mention as a freshman. They are joined by Montana Fasching of Piper and Dalton Ayres of Newton, both of whom saw major action this past year.
Charlie Rinehart of Piper and Alex Forristal of Olathe North are the transfers from JCCC and both bring outstanding resumes.
Rinehart was a first team All-KJCCC selection this past season and had a 4 under par 68 in the first round of qualifying at Dub’s Dread. Playing in the NJCAA National Division I tournament two years ago, Forristal was tied for the 54-hole lead before finishing sixth at 5 under par but did not compete this past year. A seventh sophomore, Trey Maughan of Maryville, will redshirt while an eighth, Alex Otting of Basehor-Linwood, is assisting Shrader.
Marc McClain, a southpaw from Bonner Springs who won the Class 4A state championship this past spring, and Colton Allen of SM Northwest head the contingent of four promising freshmen. The others are Jeremy Dunham of Derby and Matt Thayne of Hesston.
“McClain and Allen are solid players while Dunham and Thayne are learning about east Kansas golf after playing on the flat courses out west,” says Shrader. “They’re not used to the hills and side hill lies but they’re getting there.”
While unofficial, early scoring has been impressive. Of 45 rounds played by 11 team members at Dub’s Dread and Sunflower Hill, only six have been in the 80s.
“A lot of the early drills have been routine but as the weather cools down and we work on putting and short games, there will be a lot of improvement,” predicts Shrader.
The Blue Devil schedule will have a new look this fall – no Jayhawk Conference tournaments as in the past. “Some of the western powers wanted the opportunity to play in bigger tournaments but it didn’t happen,” said Shrader.
Three tournaments will now make up the Jayhawk season and all will be played in the spring starting with the first at Falcon Lakes. The second will be at Auburn Hills in Wichita with the KJCCC championship decided at Sand Creek in Newton.
Despite no Jayhawk tournaments, Shrader has put together a challenging schedule starting with the Patricia Island Challenge in Grove, Okla,, Sept. 7-9. The others are invitational tourneys hosted by Central Methodist in Boonville, Mo.; Evangel in Springfield; William Woods in Fulton; and Southwestern in Winfield along with the annual Blue Devil Fall Classic at Dub’s Dread Oct. 7-8.
“We’ve played in all those tournaments in the past and they’re all good venues to host tournaments and a very good schedule in that we’re playing mostly NAIA schools with good competitive programs,” says Shrader.
2014-14 KCKCC GOLF SCHEDULES
Sept. 7-9 – Patricia Island Challenge, Grove, Okla.
Sept. 14-16 – Central Methodist Invitational, Boonville, MO.
Sept. 22-23 – Evangel Fall Invitational, Springfield, MO.
Oct. 7-8 – William Woods Fall Invitational, Fulton, MO.
Oct. 12-14 – Blue Devil Fall Classic, Dub’s Dread
Oct. 19-21 – Southwestern Invitational, Winfield
March 10-11 – Ottawa Invitational, Eagle Bend, Lawrence
March 22-24 – Jayhawk Designated, Falcon Lakes, KCK
March 28-29 – Bethel-Hesston Invitational, Hesston CC & Sand Creek Station, Newton
April 5-7 – Lindenwood Invitational, The Bluffs, St. Charles, MO.
April 12-13 – Jayhawk Designated, Auburn Hills, Wichita
April 19-21 – Jayhawk Championship, Sand Creek Station, Newton
April 26-28 – Regional Championship, TBA
2014-15 KCKCC GOLF ROS TER
Yr. Hometown (High School)
Dalton Ayres* Soph. Newton, KS. (Newton)
Montana Fasching* Soph. Kansas City, KS. (Piper)
Alex Forristal Soph. Olathe, KS. (Olathe North)
Trey Maughan Soph. Maryville, MO. (Maryville)
Alec Otting* Soph. Bonner Springs, KS. (Basehor-Linwood)
Lane Pauls* Soph. Newton, KS. (Newton)
Charlie Rinehart Soph. Kansas City, KS. (Piper)
Seve Sites* Soph. Lenexa, KS. (SM West)
Colton Allen Fresh. Lenexa, KS. (SM Northwest)
Jeremy Dunham Fresh. Derby, KS. (Derby)
Marc McClain Fresh. Bonner Springs, KS. (Bonner Springs)
Matt Thayne Fresh. Hesston, KS. (Hesston)
HEAD COACH – Gary Shrader (15th season)