The Ardrey Kell boys golf team is off to perhaps the best start in its brief history.
The Knights have stormed out to a 4-0 record, which includes a pair of Southwestern 4A conference victories, but being undefeated isn’t what’s made the season truly special thus far.
Ardrey Kell’s conference wins came against Myers Park and South Mecklenburg, marking the first time the Knights have beaten either team since the Ballantyne school opened in 2006.
“(The early success) has been a pleasant surprise,” Ardrey Kell coach Charles Mikesell said. “We expected to be in the top three (in the conference), but these guys have worked really hard and come together as a team.”
The Knights defeated Myers Park, 146-148, on March 9, posting the lowest team score in school history in the process. Three Ardrey Kell golfers – juniors Mitch Schneider and Aaron Britt, and freshman Hunter Oxford – each shot even-par rounds of 36 to secure the win. The monumental Ardrey Kell win came after the Knights routed South Meck on March 3. The Knights’ other wins came against Indian Trial Sun Valley and Weddington.
Mikesell noted that the key to his team’s success has been balance, as six Knights have nine-hole stroke averages below 40.
Junior Andrew Klasing, last year’s Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group Boys Golfer of the Year, has been even better in 2011, averaging 37.2 strokes. Schneider, however, is close behind at 37.8. Oxford has made an immediate impact as a rookie, averaging 39.33 shots.
Then there’s senior Alex Calott, a senior who’s received a full scholarship to play tennis for the Charlotte 49ers. This spring, however, Calott decided to play high school golf – for the first time.
Senior Michael O’Donnell, who battled injuries much of last season, averages 39.2 shots, while Britt comes in at 40.44. Senior Nick Brenner averaged 38.5 shots in the first few outings, but he’s been out of action with a wrist injury. The team hopes to have him back before Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ spring break, which begins April 18, possibly making the Knights even stronger for a postseason push.
But Mikesell likes where his team is right now.
“We’ve just been more competitive within the team,” Mikesell said. “That makes matches a lot more fun. The guys are competing to get in there, and that makes us better. But even though they’re more competitive, they’ve been close. When we’re on the course, everybody is cheering for everybody to do well.”