At this point it is a matter of finding out how low the Horizon Honors golf team can go before season’s end.
The Eagles have already qualified for the Division III state tournament by breaking the school record several times.
As competitive as the players are with each other it wouldn’t be surprising if Horizon Honors does manage to break the record a few more times, but it’s a secondary goal.
“We have a good chance to contend for a state title,” senior Dane Allen said. “If we continue to push each of our top three (players) put together two solid rounds and no one has a bad round we can really make a run at it.”
A state title contender in any sport at Horizon Honors is big news and the Eagles are looking like it might become a reality.
The school record of 154 (for four players over nine holes) was set last season but didn’t last long as the Eagles shot 152 early in the season, then came a 150 before carding a 147 last week.
“They are really stepping it up, which is what we expected,” coach Paul Schneider said. “We knew we had a good group coming back from last year’s team that finished eighth (at state) and we figured we’d only be better.”
It has come together behind three members from last year’s team and two newcomers.
Allen, who shot a 4-under-32 on Thursday for the state’s best score up to that point, is the No. 1 with Chris Senna as the No. 2 and senior Grace Marie Schian at No. 3.
The new contributors are freshman Dalton Steenson and junior Christian Weare.
“We are having a good time and the sky is the limit for these guys,” Schneider said. “We don’t know how good we can be, but we are excited to find out. The addition of Dalton and Christian has been important because they are not too far behind the returning players.”
Allen is headed to Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C., and Schian will join the women’s team at the University of Tampa in the fall.
Until then the Eagles still have some work to do.
“We are pretty confident we can beat anyone right now,” Senna said. “We are definitely one of the better teams and we want a top three finish.”
Senna, whose scoring average is around 36, is kind of the epitome of the program as he has grown right along with the Eagles. He come into school at about 5 feet tall with a decent game, but now he is 5 feet, 7 inches with a deft touch around the green to go with his accuracy off the tee.
“No one on our team is a bigger hitter,” he said. “We just put it out there in the fairway and put it on the green. We are all good golfers trying to do our best.”
The Eagles, whose home course is Ken McDonald in Tempe, won its first six matches and faced their biggest test on Tuesday when they played Valley Christian at Whirlwind Golf Club. Other contenders this year expect to be Payson, Scottsdale Christian and Yuma Catholic.
Where Horizon Honors falls among that group will be known come May 10-11 at Antelope Hills Golf Course in Prescott for the state tournament.
“I always tell the kids even though we have done so well this early we have to keep focus,” Schneider said. “We know we are going to state, so let’s get better. This time it is going to be a business trip. When we made it for the first time last year with this group we were kind of wide-eyed.
“Now the goal is different. We are not happy just getting there. It’s time to make something happen.”
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