Fayetteville enters the 2016 boys’ high school golf season as the three-time defending Class 7A state champion. The Purple Bulldogs now expect nothing short of another title as this year’s roster appears possibly more talented than any in team history.
Fayetteville returns several top varsity players which helped lead the way to last year’s Class 7A crown, as junior Jackson Cole, sophomore Denver Davis and senior Grant Hynes all return. But what will make the Purple’Dogs clear cut favorites in the 7A-West Conference — and in the entire state — is the addition of two new players.
Kyle Robinson, a senior who previously attended Shiloh Christian and was a former ARPreps Newcomer of the Year, has transferred into Fayetteville.
“What Kyle brings to the table is phenomenal athletic ability,” Fayetteville coach Scott Williams said. “It’s amazing what he can do on a golf course.”
Also joining the Bulldogs is junior Fisher Vollendorf, who like Robinson is already committed to play college golf at Arkansas.
“With those two mixing in with what we already have, it’s really hard to find a weakness,” Williams said. “And these are guys who are accustomed to playing all over the country against top talent.”
Fayetteville will have some talented teams in boys’ golf to deal with in the 7A-West Conference, however. Bentonville finished sixth overall at last year’s state tournament but returns many key golfers in the lineup, including Bruno Mariscotti, Nate Morey, Will Remerscheid and Mickey Zeher.
“I know Rogers has some good players and Bentonville is capable of putting up good scores,” Williams said. “We have talent, no doubt about it. But like we told our guys, we have a target on our back and I remember our baseball team that came through here with all those division-one guys, and they only won one state title.
“You still have to go out there and perform.”
Bentonville finished third overall at state in the Class 7A girls’ golf tournament behind Fort Smith Southside and Conway last season. With Southside now in the 7A-Central, the Lady Tigers appear to be the team to beat in the 7A-West this fall.
Bentonville not only has its sights set on conference, but should have a great shot at the state crown as well this season as the roster is loaded with experience. Kate Robertson and Maddie Weston give the Lady Tigers perhaps the best one-two punch around and Kinslee Miller will provide depth.
Rogers High does feature defending Class 7A medalist and Arkansas commit Brooke Matthews and Fayetteville could have a bounce back season with the addition of Shiloh Christian transfer Rachel Miller. But all eyes should be on Bentonville in the 7A-West girls’ golf race this year.
“We felt the last way too and there’s a long way between now and the end of September,” Bentonville girls golf coach Lindsey Davis said. “But I think they all really concentrate and understand all the work that is needed.”
— Vernon Tarver • @NWAVernon