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2014 Boys Golf Preview: Eastern Hancock

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Coach: Dusty Magee, second season.

Home Course: Horseshoe Bend, Lewisville.

2013: Royals finished fourth at Hancock County Meet (182), eighth at Mid-Hoosier Conference Championship (401), seventh at Greenfield-Central Sectional (389).

Key Losses: Clay Roland posted the team’s top Hancock County (42) and Mid-Hoosier (89) scores before graduating.

Roster: Senior Caleb Wallen; juniors Nelson Dulin, Cole Allen, Matt Wilson; sophomores Kenny Bunnell, Jacob Stacey; freshman Jake Hancock.

Outlook: The Royals enjoyed one of their more competitive seasons in recent years in 2013, finishing within 10 strokes of big-school rivals Greenfield and New Palestine at the county meet and placing seventh of 13 teams at the sectional. Although the graduation of Clay Roland is a blow, EH has enough returning experience to once again hold its own. “I don’t know if we’re necessarily going to win a lot of tournaments, but I think we’ll be competitive, especially against 1A and 2A teams,” EH coach Dusty Magee said. “We’ll be right there at county, and somewhat competitive at sectional.” … Senior Caleb Wallen and juniors Nelson Dulin and Cole Allen were in the varsity lineup last spring, and they’ve been the Royals’ most consistent golfers so far in practice, Magee said. … Dulin and Allen, in particular, have benefitted from the EH’s in-school strength and conditioning class. “We’ve had the class for a few years now, but the kids really started buying in and we started seeing results when coach (Pat) Echeverria took over the class,” Magee said of the former EH football coach, who has since left for  Zionsville. He was replaced by Jim O’Hara as football coach and as strength and conditioning class teacher. “And coach O has even taken it to another level. So, we’re seeing a big difference in all our male athletes at the school. Just the other day at practice, Nelson and Cole each hit drives that I couldn’t believe. They’re definitely longer off the tee than they’ve been.” … Dulin posted the team’s best sectional score last spring with a 94, one stroke ahead of Roland. … Among potential varsity newcomers, sophomore Kenny Bunnell has been impressive. “He said he took lessons over the summer and has practiced a lot, and you can tell,” Magee noted.

First tee: The Royals opened the season Wednesday at Hawk’s Tail against host Greenfield-Central. In a 168-200 loss, Dulin carded a 47 to lead the Royals and Wallen took a 48. The Royals will visit Tri next Thursday.

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