Talking Sports: Kozuch discusses strong start to golf campaign

Published 5:08 pm Thursday, March 16, 2017

Golf season is underway for Washington. The Pam Pack has established itself as one of the best 2-A programs in the east. The objective is relatively the same as it has been in past years. The first goal is to win the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference championship on its way out of the league.

From there, coach Jim Kozuch and the Washington golfers hope another strong showing in the regional will propel them into state-championship contention.

Here’s what Kozuch had to say about how things look early in the season.


Who has stood out most so far:

“Tony Lovenberg, he’s been very good. We’ve got Riley Vanstaalduinen. He’s been a sniper, as well. Those two guys are battling it out for the No. 1 and 2 spots. They’re both tit for tat with each other. In the first conference match this year, Riley shot a 74, which is the low for the year. Tony shot a 76. They’re neck and neck.”


How good it is for Lovenberg and Vanstaalduinen to have that internal competition:

“Just like in any other sport, when there’s a little bit of competition, I think it forces everybody to challenge themselves to be better. If there’s nobody else to challenge you, you don’t get better because you don’t have to push yourself.”


What kind of depth the Pam Pack has this season:

“Our No. 3 has been Blake Parker. He’s been really good. He’s gotten a lot better since last year. Then we’ve got our four this year, Jackson Cournoyer. He’s a pretty good golfer himself. He averages a little over 90. He shot 88 in the first match, which was great for him. He’s a good kid.

“I think our No. 1 and 2 scorers are going to be lower than they have the past few years. If we can get our No. 3 and 4 guys to play well, then we have a serious chance to compete. Even behind those guys, we’ve got about nine kids. Everybody is pretty good. No one is a major outcast. We’ve got a chance to be pretty good for the next few years.”


How important getting another conference title is:

“I think it’s extremely important. We’ve won it the last two years. We want to go back out and continue our excellence. We want to dominate. … We try to set ourselves up to be in good position to get back to the state championship.”


How important postseason experience will be:

“It’s really important. When you get to the regional, all of a sudden, you play against players that you haven’t played against. Usually it’s at a course you haven’t played at. (The regional) is going to be at Wedgewood. We played there last year. A lot of the guys have played in it before.

“The experience is going to be huge because golf is a game nerves. If you start off a game badly, a lot of times you play bad. If our guys get off on a hot streak, we have a chance to defend the regional. We’ve won three in a row. I think we’re our own worst enemy, or vice versa. The experience could be great for us.”