After accomplishing its main objective in the regular season, the Hays High golf team now will set its sights on a fourth straight trip to the state tournament.
The Western Athletic Conference regular-season champions will look to punch their state tickets in Monday's Class 4A regional hosted by Nickerson at the Crazy Horse Sports Club & Golf Course in Hutchinson.
"Going into the regional, I think we're playing as good as we can," Hays coach Mark Watts said. "I still think you want to improve. We try to get better every tournament. I think we're ready for our regional."
The Indians will be represented by Tradgon McCrae, Josh Norris, Allen Zollinger, Peyton Kieffer and Keaton Schlaefli in the nine-team regional comprised of Hays, Nickerson, Hugoton, Ulysses, Holcomb, Larned, Pratt, Andale and Buhler.
The top two teams will qualify for the Class 4A state tournament at Emporia Municipal Golf Course on May 21, along with the top five individuals outside of the top two teams. Hays won state in 2016.
"The four guys we had coming back, those were our top four golfers last year," Watts said. "I've been really pleased with them. It was nice to win the WAC conference in the regular season. That was one of our goals."
McCrae has led the way for the Indians, winning three tournaments on the season and earning WAC player of the year honors. The junior has been dividing his time between golf and baseball.
"He's a pretty good competitor," Watts said of McCrae. "He hits it a long ways. He's got a great short game. He's got the whole package, and I still think he can get better."
Watts said the Crazy Horse course will present challenges.
"You've got to really have a game plan coming in," Watts said. "That course is not in very good shape. That's about the same way for a lot of the courses because of the winter we had. You've got to hit fairways. If you can minimize the big numbers, you're going to do well."
TMP GOLF HEADS TO ELLSWORTH — The Thomas More Prep-Marian golf team will look to return to state with a strong showing in Monday's 3A regional at Ellsworth Municipal Golf Course.
The Monarchs missed out on qualifying its whole team for state last year, but Cameron Rozean and Michael Braun both competed as individuals and will be aiming to return.
Rozean has been TMP's top golfer on the season. He won the Ellsworth Invitational and finished second in the TMP Invitational after losing to Plainville's Tanner Copeland in a playoff.
TMP will be joined in the regional by Ellsworth, Beloit, Russell, Hoisington, Minneapolis, Lyons and Sterling.
Norton will host a 3A regional with Phillipsburg, Goodland, Colby, Scott Community, Lakin HS, Cimarron and Kismet-Southwestern Heights. The Class 3A state tournament will be played at Spring Creek Golf Course in Seneca.
In 2A, Ness City will host a regional also featuring Oberlin, St. Francis, Oakley, Hoxie, Hill City, Plainville, Trego Community, Ellis and Smith Center. The Class 2A state tournament will be held at Crestwood Country Club in Pittsburg.
Atwood-Rawlins County will host a 1A regional, competing with Almena-Northern Valley, Grainfield-Wheatland/Grinnell HS, Ingalls, Sharon Springs-Wallace County, Stockton HS and Tribune-Greeley. The 1A tournament will be held at Mariah Hills Golf Course in Dodge City.