Palmyra senior Laithan Sublette and Bishop LeBlond’s Hank Lierz got to know each other a little better over the last couple of days.
Two of the best golfers in the state were paired together for both rounds of the MSHSAA Boys Golf Class 2 State Championships on Monday and Tuesday.
During a stroll from the tee box on the Par 5 No. 5 at Meadows Lake Acres Country Club on Monday, Lierz mentioned he thinks the Palmyra program will really take a hit after Sublette's departure.
Lierz meant no disrespect by the comment.
It was just a casual observation, as the other three other individual scores the Panthers post are usually 10-15 strokes more than the score Sublette records.
Sublette plans to play in the college ranks somewhere next year.
The lefty, who just finished his prep career as a three-time state medalist and picked up his second straight all-state honor, has shown a young Panthers team how to be successful.
Said Palmyra coach Marty Smyser, “You can learn a lot from talking to someone as good as Laithan, but when you are out there every day on the course with someone of his stature, you can learn a lot more. I hope these guys did just that this year, and if we can add another piece or two, maybe we can get back here.”
The guys Smyser was referring to are junior Ragar McKinney, sophomores Mason Burch and Brock Bollin and freshman Brady Shively.
Odds are another Sublette is not hiding on the current Panthers roster. But an early candidate who may end up replacing Sublette as the Panthers top golfer next season would be Shively.
While Sublette struggled on a course he is not too fond of — Shelbina Lakeside Country Club — Shively who stepped up and earned individual medalist honors to lead the team to the South Shelby Invitational title.
It was Shively who posted the best score for the Panthers, aside from Sublette, this week.
But Shively will have to work for the top spot.
All four of the underclassmen took turns being the Panthers No. 2 this season.
During an interview prior to the state meet, McKinney may have used the most fitting word for the quartet.
The soon-to-be senior said, “If one of us (four) is having a bad round, we know the others are going to step up and make up for it.”
That same philosophy was evident this week.
On Monday, it was McKinney who had the not-so-great round on Monday, but the other three stepped up to cancel out his high score. On Tuesday, Burch admitted he “hit the self-destruct button,” and the other three cancelled out his score.
The Panthers will need another player to step into the fray next season.
But with 15 players from this year's roster returning, the Panthers should have little trouble finding a fifth golfer to round out the varsity team.
And who knows, maybe this time next year, Lierz and some of his teammates will get to know the rest of Sublette’s teammates a little better.