EDITOR’S NOTE: On Wednesday, March 25, the Nebraska School Activities Association suspended all activity practices and competitions through May 1 due to COVID-19.

These suspensions may be extended should the conditions warrant. Until an official decision has been made in regards to spring sports, the York News-Times sports department will be running its spring sports previews for girls and boys track and soccer, as well as boys golf and girls tennis, in the daily sports section.

YORK – One of the most consistent Class B golf programs over the past three years has been the York Dukes.

Sandwiched between third-place team efforts in both 2017 and 2019 is a state championship in 2018 won at the Quail Run Golf Course in Columbus.

Heading into the 2020 season, the Dukes have high expectations as they return all five golfers who scored in last year’s state Class B state tournament held at Elks Country Club in Columbus.

That list of returning letterwinners and starters includes Reed Malleck, who is the No. 1-rated 2020 golf recruit in Nebraska. The senior has already signed to play golf at the University of Nebraska once his high school season comes to an end.

York head coach Dan Malleck said that with Reed and several other golfers who can score in the 70s, the team is solid, but has to also realize that there are “down days” in golf.

“Our biggest challenge will be dealing with the high self-expectations that the boys have of themselves. There are always ‘down’ days in golf, and we’ll have to deal with those times in the right way,” Coach Malleck said. “Obviously with Reed being the top-ranked player in the state and the Royal boys (Hunter and Hayden) showing the capability to score in the 70s, the top of our lineup should be solid. However, I think that our depth will be the key to any success that we have. We have nine guys who can legitimately contend for the five starting spots.”

In 2019 the Dukes won five tournaments. Reed Malleck claimed five individual titles and they posted a 1-0 dual record, a 2-0 triangular record and had the third-best all-time 18-hole school-record score of 304 strokes.

York’s junior varsity won two meets and never finished lower than fourth at any meet.

Along with Reed Malleck and both Royals – all three of whom are seniors – the Dukes also return junior Andrew Sahling and sophomore Marley Jensen.

At the Class B state tournament at Elks Country Club in 2019, Malleck finished fourth in the individual standings while Hayden Royal was tied for 16th and Hunter Royal tied for 27th. Jensen shot a 93 to tie for 55th. York’s other golfer was Sahling, who had a 98 for 67th.

The tournament was reduced to just one day due to inclement weather.

Other players who will vie for a starting varsity spot include senior Zach Beaver, sophomore Joel Jensen and freshman Ryan Seevers.

“Hayden (Royal) has grown a ton and has a beautiful swing and great hands around the green. Hunter is also much bigger and can hit it surprisingly long,” Coach Malleck said. “Andrew (Sahling) had the largest growth spurt of all and can hit it out there. Marley can move the ball out there and tied with Reed for running hot sometimes.”

Coach Malleck said the Central Conference is loaded and will be a big challenge.

“The Central Conference should be the toughest in the state this year. Grand Island Northwest and us both return everyone from last year, while Adams Central returns good players from last year’s state runner-up team,” he said. “Statewide, those three C10 teams plus Mt. Michael, Skutt, Norris, Scottsbluff and McCook all have a shot at a state title.”

Assistant coaches for the Dukes include Shane Gallagher and Stephen Sautter.

“We’ve been able to finish in the top three in the state over the past three years and we would like to be able to accomplish that again,” Coach Malleck said. “This is a great group of guys and I look forward to working with them.”

The spring sports season is currently on hold due to COVID-19. On Wednesday, March 25, the Nebraska School Activities Association suspended all activity practices and competitions through May 1. These suspensions may be extended should the conditions warrant.

Until an official decision has been made in regards to canceling spring sports, the York News-Times sports department will be running its spring sports previews for girls and boys track and soccer, as well as boys golf and girls tennis, in the daily sports section.

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