The Jefferson City Jays started golf practice not sure of what to expect.
Losing four talented seniors, who didn't get the opportunity to play last season due to the cancellation of the season, raised some questions about this year.
"I thought we were going to have a great year because they had all played a lot of golf and were great leaders," Jays coach David Franks said. "We started practice without knowing a lot about what we were going to have."
It turns out the Jays will have more than a little something when they start the season today at Sedalia Smith-Cotton.
"We have some kids that have proven a lot since we started practice," Franks said.
Jefferson City has 13 players on its roster, including seven seniors.
Ashton Caudle, one of those seniors, holds down the No. 1 spot.
"He's a solid player," Franks said. "He strikes the ball well tee to green."
Tate Riley, a junior, and senior Chase Dietzel are battling for the No. 2 and 3 positions.
"They are interchangeable at this point and they will be pushing Ashton for the No. 1 spot," Franks said.
Riley was impressive in the short time Jefferson City practiced last season before the season was shut down.
"I could see he had a lot of potential, he just hadn't played a lot of golf," Franks said. "But he's played a lot during the last year, you can tell by the way he's hitting the ball."
Dietzel has shown a lot of good things in practice as well.
"He's a talented kid, he just needs some more experience," Franks said.
Jefferson City will be counting on those three to carry load, especially early in the season.
"We can't afford to bleed strokes, we need to be solid and play smart by not trying to do too much," Franks said. "Then hopefully the No. 4 or No. 5 guy will have a good day and we can post a good team score."
Those spots are currently being held by freshmen Caleb Tuller and Carson Glaser.
"(Tuller's) going to be a heck of a player," Franks said. "He's spent a lot of time at the golf course in his life.
"He's going through the ups and downs right now, but you can tell he's got a lot of ability."
Glaser has proven to be a quick study.
"On his first day at practice, I could tell he needed some work, but he was going to be all right," Franks said. "We've shortened his swing and his swing has gotten a lot better. You can see he has a lot of talent, he has natural ability."
Among the others fighting for varsity spots include:
Trevor Sebra, a freshman.
"I look for him to make some strides during the season and push for a spot later," Franks said.
Chase Schnieders, a senior.
"He keeps getting better and better," Franks said.
Eli Sidiropoulos, another senior
"He's a hard worker," Franks said. "I can leave practice and he's sticks round to work more."
Jefferson City's schedule is loaded with events throughout April.
"We're going to be thrown into the fire right away," Franks said. "We will need to learn how to adapt to the tournament style of play instead of getting mad, just realize the team is counting on you."
It's a team that figures to improve as the season goes on.
"I knew we would have a couple of good players, but I didn't expect to have the type of talent we have right now," Franks said. "Don't get me wrong, we still have a ways to go, but it has been a pleasant surprise.
"We know the year is going to be up and down, we need to work to be more consistent. But that's something everybody is going through."