High School Sports

PREP BOYS’ GOLF PREVIEW: Meridian Trojans

Coach: Bryant D’Hondt

Last year: Qualified two golfers to the Class 1A State Tournament and one as an alternate. Two missed the cut at the tri-district tournament.

Players to watch: Nick Rautenberg (sr.), John Kihm (sr.), Joel Eschbach (sr.), Brandon Johnson (sr.), Ben Ratzlaff (so.)

Outlook: Meridian looks like it’s hitting its stride. The Trojans qualified two golfers last year for state and one barely missed as an alternate. Now, the Trojans have three seniors all primed to make a run at the state tournament and compete with the top teams in the league. Nick Rautenberg, John Kihm and Joel Eschbach all are very talented upperclassmen. “It makes my job easier,” coach Bryant D’Hondt said in a phone interview. “They’ve been with me since my first year, they understand my philosophy. I can basically take a step back and let them teach the younger kids.” One of those younger kids is Ben Ratzlaff, who also should contribute in a big way this season. Last year, the Trojans improved by 110 shots, D’Hondt said, and they’re hoping to drop another 50 this year. “We figure that will put right at the top with Bellingham,” D’Hondt said. With so much improvement in what is now D’Hondt’s third year at the helm, the Trojans are hoping to compete for a 1A state title. “It shows how much they’ve fallen in love with the game. I’ve never seen the type of improvement these kids have shown,” D’Hondt said.

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