A golf simulator has helped the Fremont High boys squad prepare for the 2019 season.
The simulator, purchased through the fundraising efforts of the Tigers and a $2,500 donation from the Fremont Booster Club, has eased the stress of not getting much outside practice time.
"With some of the bad springs we've had weather-wise recently, I felt there was a need for this," Fremont coach Matt Burg said. "I wanted to provide the best opportunity possible for our golfers so I kind of came up with this idea and ran with it. The kids did a great job with fundraising and we got a lot of support from businesses and individuals alike."
The Tigers, who open their season at 9:30 Wednesday morning with a quadrangular at the Fremont Golf Club, return five lettermen from their 2018 team.
Seniors Jack Kranz and Nick Lamme head the returnees. Kranz had the second-best scoring average behind state qualifier and 2018 senior Riley Harms last season while Lamme was third.
"Golf is Jack's main sport and he works on it year-round," Burg said. "He did the simulator two or three times a week during the winter. I expect him to be in pretty good form and ready to go."
Lamme competed in hockey in Wyoming over the winter, but re-enrolled at FHS and is looking for a strong season.
"He's working to get back into golf shape," Burg said. "He is looking better. It is just a matter of converting that hockey swing back into a golf swing. It is nice to have him back. He is a good kid and he brings some leadership to the team."
Senior Logan Martinez and juniors Kenan Brodd and Cal Miller are also returning lettermen.
"We've got some experience back," Burg said. "The downside was that we didn't quite get to the level that we wanted to last year. We want all of our guys to take ownership in their individual games to help make us better a team."
Freshman Tyler Show will join Kranz, Lamme, Brodd and Miller on the FHS varsity lineup for the season-opening quadrangular at the Fremont Golf Club. Other schools scheduled to compete include Papillion-La Vista, Papillion-La Vista South and Lincoln Southwest.
"Tyler has looked pretty good early," Burg said. "Obviously we haven't had the opportunity to do much qualifying. We'll rotate guys in and out early to see who earns a spot. A lot of people will get looks for that varsity lineup."
The Heartland Athletic Conference has expanded this year. Defending Class A state champion Norfolk has joined the league along with Lincoln Pius (eighth at state in 2018) and Kearney (11th).
"When you look at the teams that we added, Norfolk and Pius are probably two of the top three teams in the state from a golf standpoint," Burg said. "Norfolk with (defending Class A champion) Luke Kluver will far and away be the team to beat in Class A again. Pius has a strong core of kids from last year. You add a couple of teams like that and things got tougher in our conference."
Wednesday will be a hectic day for the Tigers as they will also send a squad to the Millard West Junior Varsity Invitational at Pacific Springs in Omaha. Fremont's first varsity invitational will be Monday at the Oak Hills Country Club hosted by Papillion-La Vista.
Burg said the Tigers are eager to get their season started.
"I think this group has potential," the coach said. "I think if they all work together, they can push for a top-three district spot at the end of the season."