Shawnee Mission East High School golf coach Ermanno Ritschl has never witnessed anything like it.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Through six rounds, Lancers senior Chase Hanna is 1-over par for the season with two rounds in the 60s, two tournament titles and three runner-up finishes.
“I’ve never had a player shoot that well over such a stretch,” Ritschl said. “As a matter of fact, he’s on a record pace.”
Hanna, who signed with Kansas, opened the season by shooting a 7-over 79 during the Park Hill South Invitational at the National Golf Club.
Since then, he shot a 1-under 70 to win the SM Northwest Invitational at Lake Quivira Country Club and followed that with a 3-under 68 during a runner-up finish at the SM East Invitational at Meadowbrook Golf and Country Club.
Next, Hanna fired a 1-over 72, tying for the low round and officially claiming second place after a scorecard tiebreaker with teammate Andy Spencer, during the Topeka West Invitational at Topeka Country Club.
He followed that with an even-par 71 last Friday — good for another second-place finish — during the Hutchinson Invitational at Carey Park before adding another gold medal Monday with a 3-under 69 to win the Olathe North Invitational at Falcon Ridge Golf Course.
“I played pretty well last summer and I had a decent stretch before state last year, but I’ve really been hitting it well this spring,” Hanna said. “I really haven’t even putted that well, but I’ve just hit a ton of greens over this last month or so.”
Hanna is 6-under in his last five rounds, but it could have been even better if a few more putts dropped once he reached those greens.
“You hope every year a player progresses and he’s certainly done that,” Ritschl said. “This year, he’s been outstanding so far. He’s got his swing under control and is just working on his putting. He’s had some putts lip-out or he’d be even lower.”
Still, Hanna, a state medalist his first three seasons, is more focused on the team’s goals. SM East won state when he was a freshman and sophomore, but finished third a year ago.
The Lancers’ team scoring average is 299.2 — incredibly low for a four-player average spread over six meets.
“We have a great chance to go the whole year without losing to a Kansas team,” Hanna said. “That’s obviously looking way ahead. We still have four tournaments to go, but if we do that we could say we are the best high school golf team ever in terms of record.”
Led by Hanna’s 69, SM East won the Olathe North Invitational with a 303 team score, finishing 10 shots ahead of runner-up Lawrence Free State.
Fellow senior Connor Knabe, who will head to Kansas State next year, finished fifth after a round of 76, while two more Lancers, Evan Bloom and Lucas Jones, tied for seventh (79).
Meanwhile, SM Northwest’s Collin Weems claimed fourth (75) and SM West’s Steve Sites was sixth (77).
On April 26, SM East also won the Hutchinson Invitational at Carey Park.
The Lancers and Kapaun-Mt. Carmel tied for first at 294, but freshman Andy Spencer’s 78 was far better than Crusaders freshman Eric Ewers’ 84, giving Ritschl’s squad the win via the fifth-golfer tiebreaker.
Hanna won a playoff for second place, beating Kapaun junior Sam Stevens on the fourth hole of a playoff.
Five golfers from Johnson County — SM East junior John Sallaz and senior Connor Richardson, BV North senior Alex Higgs and freshman Jake Goldman and BV West sophomore James Henderson — finished in an eight-way tie for seventh at 74.
Goodwin, Kartsonis shine for KC Christian
Kansas City Christian sophomore Johnny Goodwin improved to 21-1 this week with a pair of impressive wins.
Goodwin beat Brooks Kendall 8-4 on Monday in a dual with Shawnee Mission East, then topped SM West’s Vinh Pham, a two-time Sunflower League champion, 5-1 a day later.
No. 2 singles player Alex Kartsonis also picked up two wins — against Jeff Larrabee and Alex Bartel — while teaming with Goodwin for a pair of victories at No. 1 doubles as well.
Thunder senior wins golf scholarship
Cody Hearn of Shawnee was one of five high school seniors awarded a Kansas Junior Golf Scholarship by the Kansas Golf Foundation.
Hearn, a senior at St. James Academy and the son of former Royal Ed Hearn, earned the scholarship for academic performance, community service and leadership. He will attend either Kansas or Kansas State.
Honer wins KCAC honors
Former St. James Academy tennis standout Bree Honer was a unanimous selection to the All-Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference women’s tennis team.
Honer, who is a freshman at Bethel College, was the KCAC’s player of the year and freshman of the year.
SME, SMW soccer showdown postponed
The anticipated Sunflower League girls soccer showdown between Shawnee Mission East and SM West was postponed Thursday night due to snow — in May, for the first time since 1907.
The Lancers, 10-1-3, instead will take on the Vikings, 10-3-0, at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at SM South District Stadium.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.