Cyle Renaud and Matt Gearheart

Atlantic's Cyle Renaud & Matt Gearheart

(Atlantic) -- One of the most consistent staples of the spring sports season in KMAland is off to a fantastic start.

The Atlantic boys golf team is loaded with plenty of talent and experience again this season. And the Trojans didn’t have time to slowly work their way into the season with early-season matches against defending 2A state champion Kuemper and Creston and 18-hole tournaments at Shenandoah and Council Bluffs.

“Going into it, we always start with Kuemper,” Coach Ed Den Beste told KMA Sports. “You kind of measure yourself, and we were only five strokes off on their home course, so we felt really good.”

Atlantic shot a 163 in the tight loss to Kuemper, and then shot another 163 in a 16-stroke victory over Creston.

“I think we can do better so that was a little bit of something I wanted to work on,” Den Beste said. “But those two scores for the first week aren’t bad.”

Atlantic followed with a second-place finish at the Shenandoah Mustang Invitational last Tuesday before winning the Lewis Central tournament.

“Overall, we’re on a good track,” Den Beste added. “Hopefully, we’re trending in the right direction now and starting to get our scores a little bit further down.”

Last year’s state qualifiers Matt Gearheart and Cyle Renaud are leading the charge for the Trojans this season. Gearheart – a senior Grand View recruit – won medalist honors against Kuemper and Creston, took third in Shenandoah and came in sixth at Fox Run.

Renaud, meanwhile, shot a 38 and took runner-up against the Panthers, came in fourth in Shenandoah and won the Lewis Central tournament.

“Both Matt and Cyle coming back is good for us,” Den Beste said. “They went to state last year, and they’ve been around some different courses and have some good knowledge of the courses. They can give some hints, especially when they’re playing with some of the other guys. They give good advice while playing throughout practice.”

The rest of the team is made up fellow returnees Braden Smith, Drew Newell and Tate Den Beste and freshman newcomer Garrett McLaren.

“I think it’s great those guys have been able to talk and work as a team,” Coach Den Beste said. “They can talk (with Garrett) through some things to get ready for courses and get ready for particular events.”

Atlantic is back on the course Tuesday at Denison-Schleswig and travel to Clarinda Thursday.

“We’d like to get down to that 310 area (in 18-hole tournaments) and definitely in the 150s in nine-hole matches,” Den Beste said. “I think we have the possibility of doing that. I don’t know if we can do it consistently, but that’s what our goals is. I always preach we need two in the 30s, two in the low 40s and we’re going to win most matches. Every single one of them has the ability to help us get that score down.”

Listen to the complete interview with Den Beste below.