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North Hardin senior Ryan Daniels is a very detailed and goal-oriented golfer, so this season couldn’t have turned out any better.
Shoot a 66 in a tournament. Check.
Win the 5th Region Tournament. Check.
Earn Area Player of the Year honors. Check.
Daniels was named the Area Player of the Year in the annual News-Enterprise/Coaches Boys’ All-Area Golf Team. This is the third consecutive year a Trojan has won the award. Anthony Irwin won back-to-back awards.
Daniels earned five first-place votes and tallied 26 points. John Hardin senior Michael Vick, who received the other two first-place votes, was second with 19 points.
“It means a lot to me,” Daniels said. “This was another one of my goals entering the season. I played well the entire season. I had a really consistent season. There were no lows, it was all highs.”
The Morehead State signee said changing his mental approach made a big difference after a junior season with peaks and valleys.
“I mainly had one mindset and that was staying positive,” Daniels said. “I didn’t get down on myself. As a junior I was real streaky. I’d have six or seven great holes and then I’d have one bad hole. The rest of my round would be so-so. This year I stayed positive and it made all the difference.”
Daniels is coming off an outstanding season where he scored three victories and earned All-State Team honors. He started off the season with a bang, firing a 6-under-par 66 – matching the course record – to win the Cumberland County Invitational at Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park Golf Course.
Daniels followed up a couple weeks later with another victory at the Warren County Invitational when he carded a 71. He tied for seventh at the Bulldog Classic at Lindsey Golf Course on Fort Knox and lost a one-hole playoff with Michael Vick to finish second in the North Hardin Invitational. Daniels capped his season with a one-stroke victory at the 5th Region Tournament.
“This is a great way to go out,” Daniels said. “To win the region tournament basically on the last shot was something I’ll never forget. That shot’s amazing to me. I started late, and seeing where I came these four years of high school, I was sort of under the radar. It’s amazing. This proves to me what a high standard I can play to. I set a lot of goals and I met them.”
SOPHOMORE OF THE YEAR. Elizabethtown’s Kyle Jury has built quite a resume in a short period of time after another good showing at the region and state tournaments.
“Kyle had a good year,” Elizabethtown coach Andy Games said. “I don’t think it was as good as he was wanting it to be. Once again, he improved. He’s only a sophomore and he’s still learning. But it was a good season. He’s probably has more golfing ability than anyone.”
Area coaches seemed to agree with Games. Jury was a unanimous selection for Area Sophomore of the Year, receiving all six possible first-place votes and totaling 30 points. He’s the second straight Panther to win the award. Ryan Harris won it last year. Meade County’s Spencer Hackert was second with 20 points.
“I’ve seen some of the past winners have gone on to win (Area) Player of the Year and win the region tournament,” Jury said. “I’ve seen them go on to have other successes after winning this award. Hopefully, I can be the next one of those guys to do that. I want to do better and better. So winning this is definitely an honor.”
Jury said it was an up-and-down season, but he finished strong. He was tied for fourth at State after the first day before finishing 12th.
“There was a stretch where I lost some confidence,” Jury said. “I shot in the high 70s and low 80s. I turned it around before region. I played well except the final hole. I carried that over to State. In general, it was a good year, but there’s a few holes I’d like to take back.”
COACH OF THE YEAR. Elizabethtown returned to the top of the region this season, winning for the first time since 2009. The Panthers followed that up by finishing sixth at State.
“It’s a special group,” Games said. “They bought into the system. They basically did it with four guys. We never had to use our fifth guy’s score. But that made them better to do what they did with a lack of experience. They had a tremendous season.”
Games was rewarded by being named the Area Coach of the Year for the first time in his five-year tenure. He received four first-place votes and tallied 26 points. North Hardin’s Nathan Quesenberry was second with 13 points followed by Josh Thompson with 10 points. Quesenberry garnered two first-place votes and John Hardin’s David Allan one.
“It’s neat to be honored by your peers,” Games said. “I’m grateful to be the coach of my alma mater, but I’m only as good as my players. People ask me about coaching and I try to teach them the mental side. I’ve been blessed to have some good players who work hard at it.”
ALL-AREA TEAM. Daniels and Vick were joined on the first team by the Elizabethtown trio of seniors Ben Banks and Ian Black and Jury. Central Hardin and Meade County each had two second-team selections. Central Hardin senior Dustin Hicks and freshman Michael Reed were on the team along with Meade County junior Dustin McMahan and Hackert. LaRue County eighth-grader Cameron Dawson rounded out the second team.
Chuck Jones can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BOYS’ 2012 ALL-AREA GOLF TEAM
Player of the Year
Ryan Daniels, North Hardin
Sophomore of the Year
Kyle Jury, Elizabethtown
Coach of the Year
Andy Games, Elizabethtown
First Team All-Area
Ryan Daniels, North Hardin
Michael Vick, John Hardin
Ben Banks, Elizabethtown
Kyle Jury, Elizabethtown
Ian Black, Elizabethtown
Second Team All-Area
Dustin Hicks, Central Hardin
Spencer Hackert, Meade County
Cameron Dawson, LaRue County
Dustin McMahan, Meade County
Michael Reed, Central Hardin
Honorable Mention All-Area
Elizabethtown: Ryan Harris.
Fort Knox: Jonathan Box.
John Hardin: Josh Chancey and Reid Gonsalves.
Meade County: Chad Lancaster.
North Hardin: Nashaun Gordon.
The seven area head coaches were asked to nominate athletes for the individual awards and the All-Area Team. After all nominations were received, a ballot was emailed out to every coach. Voting was done on a 5-3-1 points scale for the three individual awards (Player of the Year, Sophomore of the Year and Coach of the Year), with five being a first-place vote, three being a second and one being a third. Voting was done on a 10-9-8-etc. scale for the All-Area Team. Players had to be nominated by their coach AND receive at least one vote from an opposing coach to earn honorable mention. Coaches were forbidden from voting for themselves or their athletes.