Special to the Citizen
After losing just one senior to graduation, Park Hill South coach Tracy Mangels has an enviable problem heading into the 2018 season: depth.
The Panthers return six upperclassmen from a squad that went 5-7 overall (4-3 in conference play) and finished sixth at the Class 4 District 8 Tournament.
“I am very excited to get the season started,” said Mangels, who is 17-14 at Park Hill South. “We have great group of guys that all work hard. Our challenge is going to be determining the top five. We have a lot of parity amongst the team, so it is going to be fun to get them in competition to see how everyone plays.”
The lone departure from the team that finished third in the Suburban Red a season ago is Zach Bischler, who missed the state cut, taking 11th at districts.
Leading the returners are juniors Jay Threadgill and Chris Walker and senior Joe Leluga. Threadgill finished 17th at districts last year and narrowly missed advancing out of sectionals to state, coming in 25th overall and just two strokes out of a state berth. Leluga and Walker finished 22nd and 29th at districts, respectively, with Leluga finishing 50th overall at sectionals.
In a tough conference with St. Joseph Central, Liberty North and Liberty, Mangels, who is assisted by Brad Peck, said the team’s goals are always to win the conference and district tournaments.
“The key for us to do that (win conference and district) is to have some guys really step up and be consistent,” he said.
Mangels said senior Harrison Feaster, juniors Nick Ryan (33rd at districts last year) and Kevin Ryan, and sophomore Sterling Scott will also be counted on more heavily this year to help lead the team.
“We use the season as preparation for postseason play, so the conference tournament, district tournament, sectional tournament and hopefully the state tournament will be the biggest matches on our schedule,” Mangels said.