There are a lot of familiar faces around this spring for Platte County golf coach Trevor Short.
A year after bringing back just two starters, there are two back again for the Pirates this year, led by returning state qualifier Logan Hessmeyer, who won the Class 3 District 16 title last year.
As a freshman, he shot 176 in the two-day state championship and finished in a tie for 85th.
He is the youngest varsity starter on a team that features junior Bradley Poos —the other returning starter — and a trio of seniors Blake Zimmerman, Matthew Blaha and Jack Laderoute will fill out the starting roles.
Lauderote was a conference runner-up as a sophomore and was 12th last year, earning second-team all-conference honors.
“We have a lot of talent on this year’s team,” Short said. “Many of the players have been playing golf for a long time and have lots of experience in tough competitions. This should help us toward the end of the season when it comes down to do or die, as whether or not you move on to the next event or not.”
That Pirates lost sectional qualifier Payton Boekhout, as well as Austin Acord and Tanner Burkin to graduation. That group helped the Pirates win the Suburban Conference Blue Division championship for the second year in a row and a runner-up finish in district. Boekhout won the league title, while Burkin was the runner-up and Poos was third and Hessmeyer was sixth, giving the Pirates four first-team all-conference picks.
The team placed fourth in sectionals, the third time in four years the Pirates had the team in the next-to-last step in state qualifying.
Platte County will host the conference championship this year at Shiloh Springs Golf Course and will have to fend off an always-tough Kearney bunch to repeat again.
The conference championship on Monday, April 23, is exactly a week after the Pirates host their own tournament on the course now owned by GreatLife Kansas City.
“Our goals this season are to defend the conference championship, finish in the top two in district, take a team to sectionals and qualify a team for the state championship.”