Strong turnout gives Montgomery County golfers a boost

By: 
Theo Tate

The Montgomery County golf team is back this spring after its 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured, front row from left, are Jared Cluver, Wes Cobb, Sara Scheid, Marina Ridenhour, Valerie Kueny, Keaton Reagan, Cameron Arzola and Selena Allen. Back row, from left, are Head Coach Robert Ripperdan, Cade Smith, Levi Larkin, Robby Rodgers, Maddox James, Keenan James, Hayden Francois, Nick Saak, Logan Hutcheson, Garrett Banks and Alex Hartman. Not pictured is Zack Walter. THEO TATE PHOTO

With a large number of players, the Montgomery County golf team is setting its sights on bigger and better things this spring.

“We’ve got some new guys who appear to have some talent,” MCHS coach Robert Ripperdan said. “We have a lot of freshmen this year. It looks pretty good for the future of the team.”

The Wildcats have 19 golfers on their team, including a pair of sectional qualifiers from 2019 – juniors Keenan James and Logan Hutcheson.

“I’m glad it’s a big number,” Ripperdan said. “If we get more, that’s great. Just having a core of a local group of players who want to play, want to have the course and generate interest in keeping the course here in Montgomery City, I think that’s all to the good of the community and for them.”

MCHS didn’t have a golf season last spring because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Wildcats had a few practices before the 2020 season was called off.

“We have to get them back into competing mode,” Ripperdan said. “Some of these guys have never been on a course and competed against another team. We’ve got plenty of sophomores. Our juniors we have now played a lot of other sports, but they haven’t been on a golf course to compete for two years.”

Other members on the boys team include juniors Hayden Francois and Nick Saak and sophomores Garrett Banks, Alex Hartman, Levi Larkin and Keaton Reagan.

There are four girls on this year’s team. They are seniors Selena Allen, Valerie Kueny and Sara Scheid and sophomore Marina Ridenhour.

“We haven’t had any girls on our team for years,” Ripperdan said. “We have almost enough for a regular team. Girls golf plays in the fall. We don’t have a girls golf team. But they’re eligible to compete out here.”

The Wildcats play all of their home matches at the Montgomery County Golf Club. MCHS was scheduled to start its season on March 23 with a home quadrangular match against Mexico, North Callaway and Van-Far, but it was postponed due to rain. 

The Wildcats’ next home match is scheduled for April 8 against Silex, Wright City and New Bloomfield. They also have a home match against Silex, Warrenton and Van-Far on April 22.

Also, MCHS has six away matches and will compete in the Palmyra, Warrenton, Elsberry and Eastern Missouri Conference tournaments.

“We’ve got a busy schedule this year,” Ripperdan said. “This year, they changed the rules. At the state meet, you only have to get through districts in order to qualify. So we’re hopeful that we might actually make it to the state meet this year. But I don’t want to count my chickens too much.”

A native of eastern Iowa, Ripperdan is back for his third season as MCHS golf coach. The Wildcats finished with a dual-match record of 31-25 and had four sectional qualifiers in Ripperdan’s first season as coach in 2019.

“My dad was a golf coach,” Ripperdan said. “He had his own state champion team. So I’m looking to try to match that.”

 

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Montgomery Standard

115 W. Third St.
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