The core of those talented squads was lost to graduation last June, but coach Victor Sherbondy believes there's enough left in the cupboard for his Cougars to compete for a state berth once again.
"I'm really excited for this season and to see how well we can do," he said. "Those freshmen that came through almost five years ago are all gone, but a lot of the guys on this team have been here for a few years. They just didn't get a chance to play. Still, they've been working hard and they know what they've been working hard for. We'll see if it pays off. It's their time now."
The Cougars should be led by Jordan Gilmore. The standout sophomore was tied for the top score at the state championships last May, but lost the championship in a one-hole playoff. Sherbondy is expecting nothing but another stellar season from Gilmore this spring.
"He has put himself in the position that he can have those types of lofty goals," the Cougars coach said. "If he stays focused and keeps working hard, he has a chance to accomplish them."
Spanish Springs started official practice nearly three weeks ago. After playing in an invitational tournament Thursday at Thunder Canyon, the SSHS squad will play in another on Monday in suburban Sacramento. The Cougars' first High Desert League tournament is slated for Tuesday at RedHawk.
"The guys are working hard and they're all excited about getting out there as a team," Sherbondy said. "I think they all feel they have something to prove after losing the majority of a state championship team. Our young guys want to show they can play well."
The Cougars can play six golfers in a league tournament. The frontrunners for those spots right now are Carson Cooke, Kevin O'Kuinghttons, Jake Ellis, Matt Beebe and Cole Petersen.
The High Desert League's seven member teams will compete in six conference tournaments with the top four teams qualifying for the Northern 4A championships, which will be held at Empire Ranch in Carson City, May 10-11.
•At Reed, the Raiders boys golf team is also gearing up for the new spring season. Danielle Fleiner takes over as the RHS boys coach after handling the girls coaching chores the past few fall seasons.
Reed did not qualify for regional play a year ago, but Fleiner does not expect a carbon copy campaign of a year ago.
"To me, there's no reason why our guys can't go as a team to regionals," Fleiner said. "They've got to capitalize. The guys have the ability. They just have to be mentally ready."
Reed also competed in Thursday's invitational tournament at Thunder Canyon. Fleiner was pleased her team had a chance to get in a competitive environment before starting play next week.
"I'm thrilled. The last few weeks, we've been knocking the cobwebs off. It's nice to see where we stand and what we need to work on," Fleiner said.
Junior Jake Nelson is the Raiders top player going into the initial HDL tournament. Reed also has seven other returners from a year ago. Only six players can compete in a league event. The rest of the Reed returners are: Nick Stefan, Chris Hackler, Colton King, Jacob Day, Trevor Smith, Anthony Shelton and Dave Hibler.
"The guys have been work hard. They've been practicing on their own and already seen a huge improvement," Fleiner said. "They're excited too because they're seeing the same things."
•The Railroader boys are set to play in their first 3A North League tournament Wednesday at Fernley.
Coach Rik Carr is optimistic as the season approaches.
"We had 14 kids start out with us. Now we're at 12 although most are first-year golfers," Carr said. "We've got three back from last year, but after that it could be interesting."
Chris Lambert, Brian Morgan and Nathan Sargent make up the returning trio.
The SHS squad has talked about team goals as it's prepared for the new season. Carr said, considering his team is pretty experienced, a good goal is for it to break the 500 total each week as well as get one or more golfers to qualify for the 3A state tournament in May.
"Once we get to that point, I think we could be in a pretty good competition. That should be attainable," Carr said. "Everybody's coming to practice and working hard. We've got a professional at WildCreek, who has been coming out to help and that's been great."