After years of searching, the Franklin boys golf team found a bit of success last spring with a Southeast Conference title and an elusive berth in the WIAA state tournament.
And after their impressive victory in the 15-team Muskego Scramble on April 8 at Edgewood Golf Course in Big Bend, the Sabers are clearly not settling for being a one-season wonder.
"I'm really pleased with how the guys are playing right out of the gate," said coach Brandon Johnsen. "The execution out of our top three guys is very good right now. Those guys have the same goals as last year. To win conference and get back to state. They got a taste of success and they want more."
The Sabers will build around three returning players out of their first five from last season, including sophomore Nolan Ruffing, who became the first Southeast Conference player ever to win league player of the year honors as a freshman. He was also honorable mention all state.
He will be backed up by senior Jackson Rehm and junior Brett Grulkowski, both of whom were second-team all-league selections last season.
Johnsen said it will be competitive this season for the four and five spots as sophomores Cade Guimeny, Ryan Segebrecht and Tommy Knezevich and junior Tommy Smoot will all be in the mix. Overall, there are 19 players out for the team as a whole.
"I really like how the team is intrinsically motivated," said Johnsen. "They don't really need me to me to fire them up and get them going. They're willing to stay after practice and do the little things to get better. Even on cold and rainy days they've been doing that."
Unfortunately for all spring sports coaches, cold and rainy conditions have been a curse these last few weeks. The Southeast Conference has already had to postpone two mini-meets already. Johnsen said that will make the schedule interesting in the coming weeks.
"I've become a small-time meteorologist," chuckled Johnsen.
The Sabers will host their big Franklin Invite at Oakwood on April 28. Johnsen said the field will be bigger and better than ever and that he will work to challenge his motivated team even more this season.
They were motivated at the Muskego Warrior Scramble. They turned in an 18-hole score of 61 to win while Muskego and Oak Creek tied for second with 63s.
Franklin's quartet of Ruffing, Rehm, Grulkowski and Guimeny used a fast start to earn its victory as they began par, eagle, eagle, birdie on the Evergreen layout that was a bit wet from last week's rains, but still very playable, according to Johnsen.
"I really liked the scramble format," said Johnsen. "Teammates get to work together and have some fun with things. It really helps build camaraderie."