By Kyle Daubs

Stewart Druin loves data. 

Since winning the Apollo Conference golf title as a sophomore and helping the team qualify for what would have been a state berth, had there been an IHSA state series, Druin has spent the offseason working on all aspects of his game using a launch monitor his family purchased.

“I’m fortunate enough to have one,” said Druin. “I can look at my numbers and read my spin launch angle.”

While Druin is not a master at sabermetrics or launch angles, having the supplemental piece is a nice addition to his offseason regimen. 

“I’ve been working out and trying my best to stay fit and in shape,” said Druin. “I’ve been practicing my short game and optimizing what I can do with all the data. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at it, but I like being able to see the numbers. It’s pretty cool now and then. As long as the ball goes straight, I don’t care all that much.”

Entering his junior season, Druin knows there will be more eyes on him this year. Last year, the Green Wave relied more heavily on Meade Johnson and Colton Romine, who each graduated.

“I’m older and will have more eyes on me for sure,” said Druin. “I have to be that leader for the younger guys and break the barriers for the team. Not every round will be great, and we’ll see how I handle it. Hopefully, I take it well and I can be someone that can help the kids who need help. I want to be a good leader because I think good karma comes back towards you in the end.”

Blaine Powers, another junior, was also among the team’s top five all season 

“Blaine has always been a steady shooter,” said Druin. “It will be nice to have a backup, if I don’t do as well. He is always there to support me and being in the same grade helps.”

Despite losing three top golfers, Druin believes the the team can defend their Apollo Conference championship and make a run at another state berth. 

That also includes trying to give Mattoon back-to-back medalist honors in the postseason. At the Regional, Johnson was the medalist. This year, Druin wants that title to be back in Mattoon, but with his name attached. 

“Winning the Regional is an individual goal I have for myself,” said Druin. “As a team, we should have a good shot at winning. Once we get to the Sectional, winning that will be difficult with all the Benton kids back.”