by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Kansas City Kansas Community College will begin its final season in NJCAA Division II golf this spring playing some of the best courses in the Midwest.
KCKCC and the other Division II members of the Jayhawk Conference – Allen County, Coffeyville and Independence – are leaving that division to return to Division I next fall.
The decision to make the move came as a result of the NJCAA sending such southern powers as Tyler, Texas, and Oklahoma behemoths Murray State and Seminole to the upper Midwest in order to avoid going up against Sun Belt powers in Mississippi and Alabama.
The Blue Devils will open the season in the Ottawa Spring Invitational at Eagle Bend near Lawrence March 12-13 and a Spring Warm-up event at Patricia Island in Oklahoma March 15-16 before embarking on a schedule that will take them to Mazingo in Maryville, Missouri; Colbert Hills in Manhattan; Terradyne and Auburn Hills in Wichita; Sand Creek in Newton and Hesston before the district tourney in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
“A good schedule,” said veteran KCKCC coach Gary Shrader. “All the tournaments we’ll play are on quality golf courses.”
The Blue Devils will be led by Micah Morris, who became the first Blue Devil to win a Jayhawk Conference designated tournament in 10 years at Colbert Hills last spring; and Bobby Armstrong, who qualified for the 2017 NJCAA Division II national tournament.
A native of Coyle, Oklahoma, where he was home-schooled, Morris was named to the All-Jayhawk first team. He also finished runnerup in the 2017 Wyandotte County Open. Armstrong, who graduated from Bishop Carroll in Wichita, was named to the All-Jayhawk second team.
They’re joined by one other sophomore, Trevor Bauer, a Wichita Maize South grad who transferred from Hutchinson; and three freshmen, 2017 Kansas Class A state champion Evin Wheaton of Leavenworth; Zach Miller of Greeley; and Harry Welsh, a University of Kansas transfer from Olathe Northwest.
The Blue Devils’ best finishes last fall were a second in the Ottawa Fall Invitational and thirds in the Missouri Valley and KCKCC Invitational at Dub’s Dread.
“We played some really tough competition in tournaments loaded with strong NAIA power conferences,” Shrader said. “William Woods placed fourth in the national last year and Lindenwood, Park University, Hannibal-LaGrange, Rockhurst and others were in the same field in five of the seven tournaments in which we played.”
In addition to Morris and Armstrong, Bauer played in all seven tournaments last fall while Wheaton and Miller each missed one. Because of his schedule in engineering, Welsh played in just three meets.
“Micah Morris is going to have a good year this year,” Shrader said. “Bobby Armstrong is very steady. I can always count on him coming in with a good team score. Wheaton was a pleasant surprise in the fall; one bad round kept him out of the regional tournament. We’re going to need to get good performances from Bauer and Miller. Bauer, who shot a 68 at Eagle Bend, is much better than he’s played and Miller needs to keep the ball in play and cut back on the number of putts he takes. As always, the key is to keep the ball in play and use good course management.”
Kansas City Kansas Community College
2018 golf schedule
March 12-13 – Ottawa Spring Invitational (Eagle Bend, Lawrence)
March 15-16 – Spring Warmup (Patricia Island, Oklahoma)
March 23-24 – Graceland Invitational (Mazingo GC, Maryville, Missouri)
March 25-26 – Jayhawk Designated (Colbert Hills, Manhattan)
March 29 – Practice round (Terradyne CC, Wichita)
April 7-8 – Bethel Invitational (Hesston and Sand Creek)
April 9 – Jayhawk Invitational (Terradyne CC, Wichita)
April 15-17 – Jayhawk Championship (Auburn Hills, Wichita)
May 6-8 – NJCAA District (Indian Springs, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma)
May 21-24 – NJCAA Division II National Tournament (Glenlakes, Foley, Alabama)
2018 golf roster
Bobby Armstrong, Soph., Wichita, Kansas (Bishop Carroll)
Trevor Bauer, Soph., Wichita, Kansas (Maise South)
Micah Morris, Soph., Coyle, Oklahoma (Home schooled)
Zach Miller, Fresh., Greeley, Kansas (Anderson)
Harry Welsh, Fresh., Olathe, Kansas (Olathe Northwest)
Evin Wheaton, Fresh., Leavenworth, Kansas (Immaculata)