PUNXSUTAWNEY — The 2012 Punxsy boys golf team will strive for another solid season after a 6-3 regular season last year that earned it a District IX title.
Punxsy's season kicks off today with a match against DuBois at the Punxsutawney Country Club.
This year's team boasts a 14-player roster, including three returning seniors: Mike Blose, Austin Couser and Patrick McGinn; six returning underclassmen: Brandon Mancuso, grade 11, Austin Milton, 10, Logan Reed, 10, Joe Roberts, 11, Eli Thompson, 10, and Ky Smathers, 11 and five new-comers: Brandon Blose, 10, Jared Burkett, 10, Peyton Graham, 9, Cody Smith, 9, and Nick Voris, 10.
The team will look for new players to step into the roles left by the departure Mickey DeChurch and Ian Miller.
"It's hard to replace our two big hitters from last year, Mickey (DeChurch) and Ian (Miller) — they really carried us last year, but we have some experienced varsity players coming back and we should still be competitive," said Josh Conrad, Punxsy boys golf head coach.
Per usual, the team did not have an abundance of practice time before the first match. However, Conrad had some time to coach the new-comers and also gave a few pointers to his experienced guys.
"With the new players, we've been working on the three most important clubs — the driver, wedge, and putter. With our core varsity squad we've just really been working on the mental game, trying to get them to realize that once the ball leaves the club, you can't control it anymore. The only thing you can control is your reaction to the outcome of the shot. You're going to have bad luck sometimes, and we need to work on dealing with that," said Conrad.
Before last year, golf had no classifications like other high school sports. This year, the PIAA split schools into two classifications for golf — AA and AAA. Punxsy was placed in AAA along with DuBois, Bradford and Clearfield.
Coach Conrad has been asked by his players many times which teams will be tough this season and he always replies the same way, " Don't worry about it. You can't control what the other team does and what the other team shoots. You can only control how you play, so quit worrying about how other teams are going to play and start worrying about how you are going to play."