Aurora Christian coach Kurtis Heerema thought his young team would have a shot to reach the state meet for the first time going into Monday’s Class 1A Seneca Sectional.
While North Shore Country Day ran away with the team title, when the scores started rolling in, Heerema knew his team was in. The Eagles shot a 325 to finish second and will be appearing at the Class 1A state meet at Prairie Vista Golf Course this weekend.
“We’re just pumped,” Heerema said. “Last year, we made it to sectionals. I was setting the bar realistically. We were fourth at sectionals. There were other teams that shot better than us at regionals (this year), so we came to (Nettle Creek) Saturday and did some research. Getting that exposure really helped us. I’m excited to bring all six guys down to state.”
The one player on the team that has experience playing at state is sophomore Brett Seward. He finished 41st at state as a freshman. Despite being only around 5-feet tall, he was still generating about 275 yards on his drives. A four-inch growth spurt and his year-round playing schedule has improved his tee shots to around 300 yards.
“I definitely put in the work,” Seward said during his practice round at Prairie Vista Thursday. “My game is at a point where it hasn’t been before. Everything is just clicking right now. It’s a pretty cool feeling. My ball striking has gotten gradually better as I grew. My short game picked up as well.”
Seward’s putting has improved as well. While most families would consider a pool table or air hockey table for the basement, his family built a 30-by-8 putting green.
“He’s always working and consistently improving, and he’s only a sophomore,” Heerema said. “By the time he’s a senior — the team is really young, we plan on being good for years to come.”
He’s just one of the young kids on the roster. Only one senior, Kollin Schalhamer, was on the roster at Monday’s sectional. Fellow sophomore Devin Johnson, also a year-round player, has pushed Seward for the top spot. Freshman Nick Green has emerged as a solid contributor. Sophomores Matt Buhrt and Chase Lietz will also play at state.
“It’s really huge for our team,” Seward said. “It pushes our program to another level. This means that we’re going to have a good team for another two or three years. It’s definitely huge for our school, just the potential that we have.”
First up is state this weekend, and Seward is anxious to see how it goes having his whole team with him.
“It will be interesting to see how some of the guys handle pressure,” Seward said. “There are lots of good players down there.”