Reprinted with permission from the editor of THE DAILY INDEPENDENT

In life and in sports, setting goals is imperative.

They keep you focused, help you figure out what your next move will be and give you something to work towards.

This year’s The Daily Independent Boys Golf Player of the Year has been able to set, and attain, goals he’s made for himself. Greenup County junior Dylan Stultz is this year’s award recipient.

After Stultz fell short of the second day of the state tournament a year ago, he made it this year and wound up tying for 17th. Stultz is proud of receiving the recognition. “It’s pretty special, and I hope to come back again and win it next year,” Stultz said. “It just takes hard work to get it again because we have so many good players in the region and in the area.”

Stultz had to overcome obstacles over the course of the year.

The Musketeers departed several pieces from last year’s team, including Brett Bentley and Dylan’s brother, Drew Stultz.

“Drew always took care of the older guys and I took care of the younger ones,” Stultz said. “It did feel weird coming back and not having my brother and a couple of my other friends, but it was something I just had to get used to.”

On top of that, Stultz found himself limited in day two of the state tournament.

That’s because his driver cracked as soon as he teed off on the first hole.

“Honestly, if I would have hit it one more time on the driving range, I’m sure it would have cracked there and I wouldn’t have had a problem and I could’ve just switched it out with another driver head,” Stultz said. “They said it wasn’t a full break, but I could see the inside of my club head, so I just wasn’t able to use it.” Stultz, who won Greenup County’s and West Carter’s invitationals, said he credits his mental toughness as his biggest improvement this year. He hopes to make it even further next year. “Next year, I definitely want to place around top five (at State),” Stultz said. “A win would always be great, but top five is what my goal is because last year I didn’t even make it to the second day.”

This season’s Coach of the Year award goes to East Carter’s Dalis Burchett.

Burchett has been leading the Raiders boys and girls teams for the last six seasons.

His boys lineup of Matthew Tomolonis, Titus McGlone and Price Harris all finished on the all-area team as well.

Tomolonis won the individual Region 12 championship with a putt on 18. Coincidentally, Burchett said that was the biggest improvement of his team.

“Their putting got a whole lot better, it got a lot stronger,” Burchett said.

The Raiders’ leader will have the trio for the next two seasons, which has led him to setting high expectations himself.

“We’re looking to go to State next year, we hope,” Burchett said. “I think we’ll be in the running 

for it, I really do.”

Lewis County standout Logan Liles was named the Kentucky Golf Coaches Association Player of the Year for Region 12 and finished second team All-State.

Liles notched five first-place finishes and five second-place finishes, and rounded out his season tied for 40th at the state tournament.

Not far behind Liles and Stultz throughout the year was Ashland’s Connor Calhoun.

Calhoun was the last cut from second-team All-State as his 525 cumulative points were just 10 points away from Clay County’s CJ Corum Calhoun finished with several second place finishes and was also invited to the KGCA All-State Championship in September with Liles and Stultz.

Russell features two All-Area award recipients

in Gunner Cassity and Max Waddell.

Cassidy was a KGCA all-region team honoree and made it to the state tournament after shooting a 76 at region.

Just one shot behind him at the region tournament was Fleming County’s Logan Hughes, who also made the state tournament and was a member of the all-region squad.

Clayton Ison of Boyd County narrowly missed out on State. He was named Tri-State Junior Golf Player of the Year in the 16-18 age group division at Bellefonte in July.

West Carter’s Tyson Webb won the individual All “A” Classic championship at Hidden Cove in August, and his Comets won as a team. He’s been on the all-area list the last few years.

Tanner Castle, hailing from Johnson Central, also made All-Area for the second consecutive year.

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