Derby boys golf (Kazyak, Smith, Egan)

One senior? Yes.

One of the largest rosters that Derby has had? Also true.

A roster of 17 golfers creates an exciting window for longtime coach Tim Herrs and he also understands he’s got eight or nine fighting for six varsity spots. That competition has certainly been an added bonus for the boys program.

“We’ve got a whole bunch of freshmen and sophomores,” he said. “We’ll have to take some lumps though as we get used to playing high school golf in the meantime.”

Hayden Smith is Derby’s lone senior and Herrs said that Bailey Kazyak and Kayden Egan have formed the leading group as the season approaches.

At the same time, Herrs said it’ll be a week-by-week process as they form their roster this spring and the years to come.

“This is a year where we could have kids play in a tournament or two and have to go into qualifying because we don’t keep their team scores,” Herrs said. “One of the other kids could have a good day and then go to the next tourna- ment. We could very well rotate some guys at the back of the [varsity] six.”

Smith has been a part of the program since he was a freshman. Herrs said there can be pressure that comes with being the lone senior, but is cautioning that Smith stay within himself as the season begins.

game from tee to green, praising his consistency and avoiding bad shots.

“He doesn’t have to do it all by himself,” Herrs said. “He needs to play his game and he doesn’t have to always go out and shoot a great round for us to be successful. Even if the younger players don’t come out and play great right away; you don’t want him to feel like he has to come out and shoot record numbers.”

Kazyak has been a JV golfer for two years and Herrs said he has also been consistent in his scoring.

“He might be good off a tee one day and not so good the next,” Herrs said. “… We need him to stay in the same scoring range from round to round.”

Herrs said that Jayden Carruthers, Cael Asman and Knowlyn Egan, Kayden’s cousin, are two other underclassmen that will have a good opportunity to earn spots

in varsity tournaments. “Those are the guys that have gotten their scores down to the point that there are a few shots between them and the next guys,” Herrs added.

At the time of publication, Herrs said there is a bit of a wait- and-see approach to tournament play due to any existing COVID-19 protocols.

“The indication I get is that it’ll be up to each school as to what the city and county restrictions might be,” he said. “… It could [hypothetically] be different at each tournament.”

A WORD FROM 2020: Hayden Smith

Q: What was the biggest lesson you learned personally after losing last season due to COVID-19?

A: The negative side is to say they took an opportunity for me to represent my school away from me. On the flip side, they gave me more time to practice, prepare because I had more free time on my hands.

Q: With the season cancelled, what were some of the workouts or training tools you used to keep going through the spring?

A: I’d say I was on the course almost every day. We’d practice and play and I know I wasn’t the only one out there. When things shut down, golf was one of the few things you were still able to do because it is outside … a lot of people took advantage of that.

Q: What’s most important to you in leading a pretty large roster, but being the only senior?

A: My strong suit is my long game and one thing I have a lot of that the other guys don’t is experience. I was on the team as a freshman and sophomore and maybe know a little bit more about the courses and what it’s like to play in a high school tournament. We have good underclassmen, so I’m excited to lead this group and help them out. 

Q: How do you stay grounded in the game of golf, understanding how important it is to stay composed mentally while playing?

A: I’d say golf is 80 percent mental and 20 percent skill. Golf is the hardest sport out there. Not the hardest physically… but when you consider the mental aspect, a typical round is four hours or so. It’s you against the course and you have to throw in weather [issues] too. You have to focus on every shot and understand where you want to hit it and find the best advantage.