SPRING CREEK — After serving as head coach of the Spring Creek boys golf team for one year in 2019 — following nearly a two-year absence of prep action — Dan Mendez will go back to work for the 2021 campaign with a young roster.
Thankfully, the lone returner for the Spartans can shoot low scores.
Now-senior Kevin Thompson has four years of varsity experience — used intermittently as a freshman — and qualified for the 2019 Division 3A Nevada State Boys Golf Championships individually as a sophomore.
In 2019, Thompson tied for the third and fourth-best average throughout the 3A North season — the top-six individuals going to state — carding an average round of 85.7 strokes.
At the state tournament, he wound up splitting 17th, 18th and 19th with a two-round total of 172 — notching an 88 in the first round and trimming his score to 84 on day two.
The 2020 season was shut down before varsity competition began, teams taking part in an icebreaker tournament and one JV event.
For the upcoming year — more specifically, just a six-week stretch — Thompson will have a whole-new pack of running mates.
Initially, Mendez had six golfers listed on the varsity roster — one taken off — leaving the Spartans just five varsity members for the season opener at 10 a.m. Thursday, at Spring Creek Golf Course, unless a junior varsity athlete is bumped up.
Thompson will be joined by fellow senior Ryan Nordstrom, sophomore Daniel Mendez and freshmen Jaron Johnson and Connor Teeter.
Fortunately, coach Mendez and his team have been able to practice together.
“We have been able to practice nine times, with our 10th being this afternoon (Wednesday),” Mendez said. “The weather hasn’t been great, but we’ve at least been able to practice outside more this year.”
As for a team strength, Mendez noted eagerness as a major positive.
“Enthusiasm! We have a lot of young kids and a few veterans, but the excitement to play and be together is great,” he said.
Going forward, he noted there is ample room for growth — which will come through repetition.
“Consistency, we have to get better at golfing good rounds in sequence,” Mendez said.
The Spartans will swing into the 3A North-East season at home, hosting the first tournament of the year at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 15, at Spring Creek Golf Course.
GALLERY: 3A North Boys Golf Tournament in Spring Creek — April 18, 2019 — at Spring Creek Golf Course