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Central, Bluff will vie for SEMO golf title

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

The two state tournament-bound teams will be in the 11-team field today at Dalhousie.

Poplar Bluff's boys golf team has placed in the top three at the state tournament each of the past two years, while Central's four state-qualifying golfers this season are putting up some of the best scores in the long tenure of Tigers coach Dick Wadlington.

The two squads squared off in 18-hole matches twice last week, with Poplar Bluff winning the big one on in its home course in the Class 4 District 1 tournament at Westwood Hills Country Club. Central came back two days later to beat the Mules by 10 strokes on its home course -- Cape Girardeau Country Club --in a dual.

Now, each squad will get one last chance to face off before the Class 4 state tournament in today's 11-team SEMO Conference Tournament at Dalhousie Golf Club.

"They're a good team," Wadlington said of Poplar Bluff. "We feel like we have a good team also."

Central's top four golfers all have nine-hole averages under 40. Blake Driskell leads the group of four seniors with an average of 35.3. Kirk Lohmann (37.3), Zach Kluesner (38.4) and Robert Kaverman (39.9) round out Central's top four.

Among the 11 conference teams, three will compete next week at the state level. Dexter (Class 3 District 1) and Poplar Bluff each won district titles, and Central will qualify in the team standings in Class 4 after getting four individuals through the district tournament.

Notre Dame also has a pair of state-qualifiers in Brandon Holzum and Brett Slaten.

The 18-hole match also includes Jackson, Sikeston, Malden, New Madrid County Central, Kennett, Caruthersville and Doniphan.

"It's a great match," Wadlington said. "It's a great course, and it's a difficult course. Bluff's going to state, we've got four going and Dexter's going to state. It's a good tune-up."

Tigers sweep honors

Central junior ace Brad LaBruyere leads the SEMO Conference in wins, strikeouts, earned run average and innings pitched this season, and over the weekend was rewarded with SEMO Conference Player of the Year.

LaBruyere has a 11-1 mark this season, with eight wins coming against conference opponents. LaBruyere has 89 strikeouts in 64 innings and a 0.88 ERA.

The Tigers (19-5) won the SEMO Conference tournament for the first time this year and also captured the regular-season conference title with an 8-1 mark.

Along with LaBruyere, the Tigers also had three other first-team all-conference members. Senior Ty Craft, and juniors Matt Hester and Blake Slattery also made the team.

Central coach Steve Williams was named the coach of the year.

Notre Dame seniors Kirk Boeller and Shane Menz, and juniors Abe Dirnberger and Jordan Buchheit all earned first-team honors.

Jackson had a pair of first-team members in seniors Logan Lawson and Bret Groening. Chaffee junior Chris Hanback and sophomore Steven Dooley also made first team.

Mr. and Miss Show Me Basketball announced

Poplar Bluff senior Ben Hansbrough followed in older brother Tyler Hansbrough's footsteps over the weekend, as he was selected Mr. Show-Me Basketball.

Ben Hansbrough, who has signed to play next season at Mississippi State, helped the Mules win back-to-back Class 5 titles as a sophomore and junior. He led Poplar Bluff to a district title this past season.

Mackenzie Stirmlinger of St. Joseph's Academy was named Miss Show-Me Basketball. Stirmlinger will play basketball at Iowa State next season. Saxony Lutheran senior Lauren Lueders was a candidate for the award.

College notes

* Jessica McDonald, a Central graduate, earned first-team all-American Midwest Conference as a senior at McKendree College. McDonald, a first baseman, has hit .341 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs this season.

* Central graduate Kim Pancoast was named a captain for Nebraska's cross country team next season. Pancoast had three top-10 finishes during the cross country season last year.


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