The Cassville Wildcat golf team fell just short last year taking second overall in the Big 8 Conference tournament. This year, with all five varsity golfers returning, the 'Cats are thinking first place would be a better way to finish off the 2008 season.
Leading the way for the golf squad this year will be Taylor Vanzandt. The junior was Cassville's top golfer last year. Vanzandt was the Big 8's individual champion and was also named to the All-Conference first team. As a sophomore, Vanzandt was the Wildcats' only state qualifier. He topped off his season by finishing 16th in the state.
Vanzandt will be accompanied by three seniors this season. Ryan Stockton, Laith Hayward and Kyle Mills all return to the varsity roster and will help provide leadership and experience for the Wildcat squad.
Sophomore Justin Mills, finishes out the returning varsity members and adds a little more youth to the group.
In addition to the returning varsity team members, the 'Cats also return experienced lettermen. Seniors Clint Reed and Pate Shumaker both lettered last season and will give Cassville good experienced depth.
"I am very excited this year," said Coach Lance Parnell. "We return all five varsity golfers from last year's team, which finished second in the conference."
Parnell is also excited about his underclassmen.
"We also have several young golfers that I look forward to watching progress this season," Coach Parnell said.
Some of Parnell's top prospects include sophomore Colby Reavis and freshmen Roper Hayward, Jordan Bailey, Parker Stumpff and Douglas Cope.
Cassville will not have an easy road this year in the Big 8 Conference or in districts, but the team believes its experience and skill may help the Wildcats end up on top.