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NTL GOLF: ATHENS COACH LOOKING FOR WILDCATS TO SURPRISE IN 2020 (8 PHOTOS) (2020-09-03)

By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
ATHENS — Athens tees off this afternoon to open the 2020 golf season, and second-year coach Lenny Pientka believes the Wildcats could surprise some people this season.

“I’m looking for us to drastically improve our record from last year. We won five matches last year, which I was happy with considering we were playing with three freshmen.

“We’ll need to be consistent, though, to be competitive in the league,” said Pientka. “Being that all our kids are all so equal, we will play a qualifier every two weeks, so the top four could change quite a bit this season. That way, it’s fair and everyone will have a chance to play in a match.

“We’re looking to be competitive and possibly upset some people,” he added.

The Wildcats will carry 12 players on its roster.

“Our numbers are good. We have eight boys and four girls,” said Pientka.

“We have five returning from last year,” he noted. “We played three freshmen who are now sophomores, and I’m expecting a lot out of them this year.

“The girls have really improved, too,” added Pientka. “If they can all break 100 by Districts, they would qualify as a team.”

Returning for Athens are four-year varsity players Carter Jones and Luke Jones, and sophomores Cameron Sullivan, Lucas Kraft, and Carson Smith.

The newcomers are senior Matt Scardina, and freshmen Nicholas Jacob, and Evan Cooper.

Senior Megan Collins and sophomore Isabell Dahl also return for the Wildcats, with senior Harley Sullivan and junior Caydence Macik new to the team.

“(Harley) Sullivan hits the ball pretty well,” said Pientka. “It would be pretty cool if we get her into Districts, and have a brother and sister playing on the boys team.”

Pientka believes his younger players are the ones to watch in 2020.

“I think you need to keep your eyes on my three sophomores.

“Cameron Sullivan is a long hitter,” said Pientka. “If his short game comes around … he has a lot of talent, and could go a long way.

“And the two freshman — (Nicholas) Jacob and Evan (Cooper) are both going to rattle some cages because they can play as well,” he noted.

“Everybody on the team is pretty even,” added Pientka. “No one is going to consistently shoot in the 70s or low 80s. I think they’ll all be between 85 and 90.”

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IN PHOTO 1: Athens’ Cameron Sullivan. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.

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