Just hours ahead of becoming the sixth and final sibling to walk across the stage as a graduate of Bishop LeBlond High School, senior Hank Lierz is in his happy place.
Having just finished up a round of golf Thursday at the St. Joseph Country Club, Lierz and the Golden Eagles boys golf team inched closer to the final strokes of Lierz’s prep career.
The three-time Class 2 individual runner-up has been a part of two team titles in his time at LeBlond. Now in Class 1, Lierz enters his final tournament in the MSHSAA Boys Golf Championships today fresh off conference, district and sectional titles. Just one last crown remains to be had for the future Kansas Jayhawk.
“I just wanna go out there and control the things I can control. Some things are out of your reach, but it would definitely be nice to come away with first this time,” Lierz said. “I’ve been close the last three years and just made a mistake here or there. That’s definitely a goal this week.”
In 2016, Lierz ended his freshman year four strokes back of current Mizzou Tiger Jack Parker to walk away with individual silver. The second year was the same story with Lierz coming up just one stroke short.
“I think it just comes down to who can manage their game the best,” Lierz said. “Everyone can hit good shots and make putts, but it comes down to focusing on your own game. If you have a bad hole, stay tough and march on.”
Bishop LeBlond dominated as a team in 2018, claiming the top three spots. Lierz led teammate Brooks Jungbluth by two strokes after the first round before the current SIUE Cougar fired a second-round 66 to win by three strokes.
It marked the second best round and second lowest two-day tournament total in MSHSAA history, and also crushed Lierz once more. Eight strokes back of Lierz in third place was Jeff Johnston, now a sophomore who is pushing Lierz and the Eagles once again.
“You wanna play well for yourself, but you also want the whole team to do well,” Lierz said. “Jeff’s a great player and I hope he plays well at state because we’re gonna need it to win the team title as well.”
Although down a class from previous years, it won’t come easy for the Eagles. They shot the second best team total at sectionals, one stroke back of Westran’s 335.
Only two individuals shot better rounds than Lierz individually in South Shelby’s Kanon Kendrick and Miller’s Presten Richardson.
After three-plus seasons, Lierz’s run with the Eagles comes to an end Tuesday at Sedalia Country Club. On a course he’s familiar with, he’s optimistic the result will be one new to him on this stage.
“It’s kinda sad but I’m excited for it. It should be a lot of fun. I know the course, have played it a couple times,” Lierz said. “I think I’m playing well, so it should be a lot of fun.”