RIPLEY – It is the short game of golf that Kevin McClung stresses to his players at Ripley High School.
In his second season at the helm of Viking golf, he is having to do so with a group short in numbers and experience.
"We're rebuilding," said McClung, a 1988 Ripley High graduate. "We don't have a lot of experience with the exception of maybe two kids."

There is indeed a youth movement with the Vikings. "I've got several younger kids," he said.
"I'm looking to see these kids kind of progress, move along and kind of develop into good players and sort of try to build a better foundation for the golf program."

McClung's top two players from a year ago – Tyler Jones and Jacob Haynes – both graduated.
Returning to the team for the 2013 season are seniors Logan Reynolds and Taylor Casto along with junior Justin McKown.
The lone sophomore is Derek Hill. Freshmen team members are Elijah Rife (who will also play ninth grade football), Josh Sinclair and Corey Dale.

The Viking schedule this season will have the team hitting some different venues.

"We are going to be playing a few new courses we didn't play last year," he said.
McClung has reached out to many from Viking golf teams of the past to lend support, including Tyler Franklin, Joey Gossett, Cole Waybright and former coach Fred Batten. McClung can also bring up the name Tim Fisher, who was the state high school golf champion in 1998 before a phenomenal career at Glenville.

Fisher is a three-time winner of the West Virginia State Amateur.
"I want to keep people in who have invested into the program," he said. "Many of them are giving back and that is encouraging."

Ripley opened its season Friday in the Wirt County Invitational at Mingo Bottom Golf Club.
Reynolds' 90 led the way for the Vikings. McKown had a round of 92.