ST. JOHN | From the time he was able to pick up a golf club, Lake Central's Matt Meneghetti has been swinging away with his father, also named Matt.
His father's tutelage has paid big dividends for the Lake Central junior over the years, which has shown in his scores on the links.
Even though the weather hasn't exactly been ideal for golfing the past few weeks, Meneghetti has posted scores as low as 33 on the front nine holes at Palmira Golf Course, evidence of his marked improvement since last season.
"I've just been playing really well," Meneghetti said. "I haven't been thinking about my swing. Everything is natural right now."
It certainly doesn't hurt when Meneghetti's father is a golf pro at Centennial Park Golf Course in Munster, which gives him a place to practice pretty much whenever he wants.
"I'm very grateful, but I feel like I have to prove to him that he's taught me well," Meneghetti said. "I want to be as good as him, fill his shoes and make him proud.
Meneghetti doesn't only have immense shoes to fill within his family, but within his team, as well. The graduation of T.C. Cameron and 2012 state qualifier Mike Barenie left two gaping holes in the lineup, leaving Meneghetti with the responsibility of likely being the No. 1 golfer this season.
"I practice a lot, and it just feels natural to keep getting better every year," Meneghetti said. "I think I'll be able to fill the shoes that have been left for me."
Lake Central coach Chris Rossiano has confidence in Meneghetti to step up his game this season.
"He's fixed some things in his swing that led to some inconsistency a little bit," Rossiano said. "Other than that, he's always been a good player, but I think he's matured as far as course management. Mentally, being able to get over a bad shot, come back and save a par and not let it affect him on the next hole."
Last season, the Indians missed qualifying for state as a team by just two strokes, finishing with a score of 313 at the LaPorte Regional. With a proposed sectional realignment including Andrean, Boone Grove, Crown Point and Munster, making it past their own sectional could be tougher for the Indians, but Meneghetti welcomes the added competition. The goal remains to qualify for state as a team.
"It just makes us, as a team, work so much harder to get better," he said. "It's more pressure."
"There's going to be two very good teams that don't advance," Rossiano added. "In the past, that wasn't the case. It's no longer a shoo-in for Regionals. We definitely need to play our A-game."