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Boys golf team taking advantage of warmer start to the season

ALPENA — After missing out on the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Alpena High boys golf team is happy to be outside and playing again this season.

“It’s amazing. I never thought I’d be so lucky to say that we have a spring season, but there’s something that feels right about this,” Alpena coach Eric Mitchell said. “We’re very fortunate to be able to play this year.”

While they might not have been able to compete as a team last year, Mitchell said many of the 16 golfers he has this season played a lot of golf last summer.

The Wildcats were helped by a nice stretch of weather in late March and early April. It’s often been the case during Mitchell’s tenure that the Wildcats are trapped inside for most of April due to weather, but this year they were outside the earliest they’ve been in years.

“This is the earliest I’ve been outside and we haven’t been able to put a club down,” Mitchell said. “I want to make sure they’re learning the game of golf, learning the rules and having fun.”

Mitchell returns just three golfers with tournament experience, but has a group of sophomores who have a lot of golf under their belts.

Matt Hoos is a four-year returning varsity golfer for Alpena and Andrew Lafleure and Joe Blewett are returning as well.

With a bigger roster, Mitchell’s focus has been getting his team as many opportunities to get outside as possible, working on hitting, putting and chipping among other aspects of the game.

“Our goal is to grow the game of golf and afford kids opportunities to get outside,” Mitchell said. “One of the great things about golf is no matter what your skill set is, you can find a way to be competitive.”

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