One can detect the excitement in Travis Armstrong's voice when the Blue Earth Area boys golf team coach talks about this season.
"Oh yeah, this is going to be a good year," Armstrong says, and he is not referring just to the beautiful spring weather.
Armstrong has a core of three outstanding senior golfers returning to lead his Buccaneer squad.
Members of the 2012 Buccaneer boys golf team include, front row, left to right; Cody Tischer, Logan Swanson, Tyler King, Jordan Swanson, Josh Anderson, Connor Thielfoldt, Zach Curtis and Lane Anderson. Back row, left to right; Marcus Mittelstadt, Logan Jacobs, Slater Peterson, Andy Aukes, Derek Abel, Trevor Zierke and Carson Hurn.
Andy Aukes, Derek Abel and Slater Peterson have a tremendous amount of varsity golf experience accumulated over the past several years.
The trio is led by Aukes who competed at the State Golf Meet last year.
"This gives these three seniors something to shoot for," Armstrong says. "Andy wants to get back to state and the other two want to join him there."
But a golf team needs four scores to compete. Armstrong says he has a few players competing for space on the varsity squad.
Connor Thielfoldt, Zach Curtis, Logan Jacobs and Trevor Zierke are four members of the team who have some past varsity experience and can fill that fourth spot.
The Bucs lost three seniors to graduation from last year's team, including Connor Hanson, another State Golf Meet participant. The other two are Zac Tvedten and Jacob Black.
"We have to fill in these shoes," Armstrong says. "We have to fill in for a state meet participant. But, I think we can."
Armstrong says the three seniors are all capable of hitting scores in the 70s.
"All we need is a couple of our other guys to break 90 and we will be able to compete with all the teams around here."
The team will get an excellent idea of how well they can compete when they travel to Jordan on April 21.
"We have been invited to compete at a meet on the State Tournament course in Jordan," Armstrong says. "We will be competing against some of the better teams in the state, from northern Minnesota, the Twin Cities, Marshall and Fairmont."Armstrong says he thinks Aukes's finish at state last year helped with the invitation.
"Having two team members in the tourney last year probably helped get us invited," Armstrong says.
The Buc coach thinks Waseca could be the team to beat in the South Central Conference.
"They were the champs last year," he says. "But they did lose a couple of players. We should be capable of playing with them."
The great early spring weather should help the Bucs, Armstrong feels.
"The team is excited to start, they are looking forward to a strong start," he says. "Last year we had a rough start and we never really recovered well."
The Buccaneer boys team starts out the season with a meet on Monday, April 16 at St. Peter.
"We only have three home meets this year," Armstrong says. "Our first one is the second meet of the season, on Tuesday, April 17, at the Riverside Town and Country course."
The other two home meets are May 4 against New Ulm and May 15 hosting Waseca. Both are currently set for Riverside.
"We usually try and have at least one home meet at Minn-Iowa in Elmore, so one of these could change locations," Armstrong says. "But with only three home meets that might not happen this season."
The coach says the team plays in a lot of multi-team tournaments throughout the year, making dates for home meets hard to come by.
Having three strong seniors lead the team is not the only reason Armstrong is excited for the year to start.
"I'm excited to see some of our freshmen play too," he says. "We have some good, young players coming up."
All in all, it should be a very good year. No wonder the Buc coach has a little excitement in his voice this spring.