COLUMBIA — Will Echelmeier and Austin Evans will be the only returning members of the Rock Bridge boys golf team next season. The two juniors know it will be tough to recreate this season, and would rather focus on what lies just a few days away.
After winning in district and sectional competition, the Bruins are set to improve on last season's second-place state finish at this season's Class 4 state championship Monday and Tuesday at Twin Oaks Country Club in Springfield, Mo.
Still Echelmeier said he can’t overlook the fact that Rock Bridge is losing three varsity golfers after this season including senior Wilson Sundvold, who placed second at this season's sectional and was eighth at last season's state tournament.
“There’s no way we’ll be as good as we are this year,” Echelmeier said. “I think we’ll still be good, but we only get one chance a year to prove we’re the best, and this is the year we have to do that.”
Last season, Echelmeier and Evans said they weren’t truly aware of how good the team was and that they had an opportunity to win state.
“Since the second we found out we got second in state last year, all we can think about is winning,” Echelmeier said.
Evans said plans for winning the title started long before practices started.
“Me and Wilson have our strength training class together and even back in January we would look up (in the gym) and point to where we are going to put the banner,” Evans said.
Evans said he is confident the Bruins will succeed at the state championship, based on what he has seen this season.
“By now going into a tournament, I just think, all right we’re going to win,” Evans said. “I take pride in our golf team, and I take it for granted. I’m just used to winning.”
Echelmeier is also confident, but said that doesn't mean he will be free from jitters before the event.
“I know I’ll be nervous as state gets closer," he said. "That first tee man, you could throw up.”