“We have all aces coming back next year,” he said. “I have some great players returning.”
The season began Aug. 20, running until the state championship at Soldier Hollow Oct. 6 and 7. The six players who competed in the championship were seniors Sterling Evans and Marcus Manzano, juniors Zack Larsen and Ryan Hartley, sophomore Victor Gonzales and freshman Devin Porter. Evans was the only player who made the cut to play the second day, finishing with a total score of 165 for 36 holes. The rest posted scores in the low 80s for the first day.
“I worked a lot on their mental game,” Bland said. “We focused on the short game and the long game, but the mental game was really important because these kids are so young and there’s so much pressure. The kids that haven’t played a lot aren’t used to having a gallery there watching and clapping. They’re not used to dealing with all the outside pressure.”
Bland says he’s not just trying to build a team; he’s trying to build a program. He’s already let his team know that only 12 players will be walking away from next year’s tryouts. “I took on so many this year because I wanted to see what I had to work with, what potential was there. Next year will be tougher.”
There are a few players Bland is keeping an eye on; among them are junior Zack Larsen, with a handicap of 8 and Devin Porter, a freshman with a handicap of 10 who took the number three spot on the team.
“I can’t coach the kids in the offseason but I recommend they do tons and tons of junior golf tours in the spring. They need to keep themselves involved and keep working on their tournament play,” Bland said.
The members of the Riverton golf team are seniors Marcus Manzano, Sterling Evans, Easton Rentmeister, Seth Price, Brandon Gust, and Louis Skoubye; juniors Zack Larson and Ryan Hartley; sophomores Victor Gonzalez, Justin Welburn, Austin Pierce, Alec Neislon, Luke Kalmar, and Braydon Iverson; and freshmen Devin Porter, Spencer Sacco, Logan Lemperle and Talin Schick.