Truswell, Salomon play for bragging rights
Whittell High School’s top three golfers don’t have to wait for matches with defending Nevada 3A Division II champion Bishop Manogue to fuel their competitive fire. Dustin Fox, Keith Truswell and Ryan Salomon have each other to enhance their golf games.
“We just play for bragging rights,” said Truswell, a junior, whose 11th-place finish led three Warriors in the top 23 as Whittell claimed fourth place in the 1999 state tournament. “Dustin has the early edge, because he’s won tournaments before, but I’m longer and stronger now.”
Frank Bruno, in the second year of his second coaching stint at Whittell, firmly believes the competition between his top three players will benefit the team in the long run.
“Dustin, Ryan and Keith are going to be battling it out for 1-2-3, and they’re real interchangeable,” said Bruno, who also coached Whittell during the 1970s. “I think our top three guys can compete with anybody in the state. But the key to our success this year is how the next three guys do … that will make or break us.”
Taking into account that one of the next three maybe is the school’s all-purpose athlete, Todd Echan,Bruno may want to focus his concerns toward next year’s team. Echan struggled most of last season, but Bruno has tinkered with the four-sport athlete’s swing, and the early results are encouraging.
“Last year he got a little short on his backswing, but this year he’s swinging a lot better,” Bruno said. “I’m looking for Todd to have a good year.”
Lars Hansen, a senior who gave the Warriors reliable play last year, gives the team a solid fifth player. Questions, however, do surround Whittell’s fifth man. Since returning starter Jayde Haynes is recovering from a hip injury he suffered snowboarding this winter, it’s uncertain if he’ll contribute early.
That leaves the door ajar for junior Matt Lincoln, sophomore Cary White and promising freshmen Parker Fox, Patrick Flanagan and Brian Jones.
At least the sixth man can find solace in knowing that Dustin Fox, Salomon and Truswell will remove most of the doubt in their weekly matches. Dustin Fox, whose father, Randy, manages the school’s home course at Genoa Lakes, will be shooting for his fourth straight state appearance. Parker Fox is Dustin’s younger brother. Salomon, whose dad works as a superintendent at Dayton Valley, tied for 13th at state last year and is only a sophomore. Truswell feels a lesson from Asian Tour pro Brian Lotz will make him a state contender.
“He worked with me one weekend before he joined the Asian Tour, and it helped me gain 15 yards,” Truswell said. “I feel so much stronger, and it built so much confidence in my game that I feel really good about this season.”
Lotz, a former director of instruction at Wolf Run in Reno, changed Truswell’s stance and helped free the junior’s forearm so it’s out in front of his body instead of wrapping around it.
Bruno has upgraded Whittell’s early season schedule in hopes of getting off to a faster start than last season. Whittell couldn’t overcome Manogue’s fast start and finished runner-up to the Miners in division play and one place behind the Reno school at state.
“If we can keep it together and get some good practice in early, I think we’ll give it our best shot,” Bruno said. “Manogue is going to be strong again with everybody back, but I think we can compete with them if we compete to our potential and improve throughout the year.”
Hence, the Miners are the main target this spring.
“We’re all planning to beat Manogue, that’s our main goal,” Truswell said. “They have the edge because they get to practice year-round and they finished ahead of us in division and state, but I like to be the underdog.”
Last year: runner-up in Division II and fourth at state
Coach: Frank Bruno, sixth year overall
Players to watch: Senior Dustin Fox, three-year state qualifier; junior Keith Truswell, 11th at state in 1999; sophomore Ryan Salomon, tied for 13th at state last year; Lars Hansen, senior, “Mr. Consistency;” senior Todd Echan, third-year player; Jayde Haynes, varsity regular in 1999.
Opener: Friday, March 10 at Genoa Lakes
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