As another golf season swings into action, the Sedona Red Rock Scorpions again appear to be near the top of Arizona 3A high school golf standings.
Coach Dennis Mobley said," This year's golf team actually looks slightly stronger than last year's group."
This can only mean trouble for the opposition. Last year's Scorpion golfers finished their dual meet season with a perfect record of 26-0, won the 3A West Regional golf title and then led the 3A State Champions for 27 holes before fading on the last nine to place second behind Seton Catholic.
"We are led this year by four golfers who are all capable of shooting even par," said coach Mobley.
Stadler Ho placed second in the State individually as a freshman with rounds of 73-72 at Aguila. His main goal for 2007 is to move up one position. Ho has been a decorated junior golfer for years prior to high school including the SWPGA 12 and under State championship in 2003.
Senior co-captain Stefanie Fischer has accepted a golf scholarship to play next year at Northern Arizona University. She recently won the southwest section PGA at the Sanctuary Golf Club and placed first in the girl's championship division of the JGAA Winter classic. Overall, she has captured three JGAA events and finished second at the Ping Arizona Junior Match Play (Moon Valley) and the Junior World qualifying (Starfire C.C.). Her best competitive rounds in the last year have been sub-par efforts of 70, 71 and 71.
Senior co-captain Brian DeWulf is looking forward to a breakout season and All-State status based on his continuous improvement. In his first three seasons, DeWulf averaged 105.34, 90.26 and 81.64 for 18 holes.
"He has worked on his game continuously in the off season and now shoots regularly in the 70's," added Mobley. "After high school, Brian will be working on the qualifications necessary to become a certified golf pro."
"Also no sooner do we lose key graduates Mike McClintock and Mike Steele and in walks a significant replacement on a student exchange from Puebla, Mexico. Juan Pablo Caballero Gonzalez is a legitimate four-handicap golfer who has played many golf tournaments in the Mexican Junior Federation. McClintock is now on a golf scholarship at Gateway college in Phoenix after placing 11th individually at 3A State with rounds of 76-76."
The No. 1 position on this team is up for grabs according to Mobley. Any one of these four could be their leadoff at some point this season.
A real battle will be fought for the fifth position in the team's lineup. Seniors Adam Lehenbauer and Mike Allen, junior Brenden Biermann, sophomore Rob Helmkamp and transfer senior Allison Golf will all have a chance to earn that last starting spot.
Three newcomers round out the roster for the Scorpions - juniors Melina Moore and William Mangarpan and sophomore Nick Wise.
"It's great to see the eager faces of the newer team members who want to become better golfers and represent the high school," said assistant coach Steve Livingstone.
Livingstone and former Scorpion All-State golfer Ryan Miller round out the coaching staff for 2007. Miller is currently pursuing his dream of trying to play golf on one of the professional tours.
Schedule-wise, this year will be special no matter what the team result. 3A State will be held at the Continental Country Club in nearby Flagstaff, May 7-8. Then in a culmination of five years of inquiries and two years of fundraising, the Sedona Red Rock golf team will participate in the Waikoloa High School Golf Invitational, April 19-20 on the Big Island in Hawaii.
"We are expecting to see some of the top golf teams in the nation at this tournament such as Canyon and Poway from the San Diego area, defending champion Grossmont from El Cajon and Big Island champion Waiakea," said Mobley. "this will certainly be a golf trip to remember."