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Cowboys young and inexperienced

Inexperienced Cowboys look to build for the future

by: CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - Nick Murrell is expected to be the Cowboys' No. 1 golfer this season.

The Crook County High School boys golf team is young and inexperienced, but Head Coach Chuck Wilcox is excited about the future.
   "We had 15 freshmen that came out this year," said Wilcox. "We have nine freshmen on the team and there are six or seven kids out there that still want to play golf. I encourage them to come out next year. If they play all year and get better and come back out, there are always opportunities."
   The boys golf team currently has 17 golfers on their roster, the most in a long time, and although most of the team is inexperienced Wilcox noted that they are eager to learn and are working hard.
   The team has only two returning lettermen from a team that finished at the bottom of the Intermountain Conference last season, and only five players with high school golf experience. Seniors Seth Hulett and Daniel Teater are expected to provide leadership, while Nick Morrell, Jake Shinkle and Matt York also have high school experience.
   Sophomore Caleb Henry and freshman Jared George are also expected to contend for one of the five varsity spots.
   Wilcox's goal for the season is to try to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack in the IMC tournament, and to gain experience for the future. He noted that to be a really good golfer you have to commit to playing all year, and he is expecting players to get involved in junior golf or the Central Oregon Golf Association in the summer.
   Wilcox is also working on starting a middle school golf program and is looking for someone that can head up the program.
   "Some kids don't play baseball or do track and it will give them a chance to come out and try the sport," he said. "We need to get some girls and boys both involved, but seriously I need to find someone that can handle running it. Maybe we can even put on a middle school tournament for some of the kids around central Oregon."
   During the preseason former Crook County High School golfer and current PGA professional Brad Hunter has been helping with the program.
   "He has offered his time until he starts work," said Wilcox. "The team has been listening to him and getting excited. We have some really nice kids out. They are going to be a fun group. They are really trying. They are working hard and they are just going to improve. We are just going to keep getting better."
   Wilcox also noted that the team's annual fundraising golf tournament is coming up on April 26.
   "We will be getting you a little more information a little closer to the tournament, but that is our big event at the end of April," said Wilcox.
   The fundraiser allows the team to travel and play on some golf courses that they might not be able to see otherwise. The team has already been able to play Bandon Dunes, considered one of the best public courses in the United States.
   "We are going to places with nice courses and the kids are going to have some great experiences," said Wilcox.