Eagle Men Plan To Use Youth To Their Advantage

Eagle Men Plan To Use Youth To Their Advantage


IN 2015-16: Finished seventh at the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship and 13th at the Great Lakes Regional…Senior Austin Schreiber led the team with a 76.3 average score in 18 rounds.

2016-17 OUTLOOK: Youth seems to be the theme for many Ashland University athletics programs this year, and men's golf is no different, as Jeremy Hanna is the lone senior gracing the Eagles' roster.

Fourteenth-year Ashland University head men's golf coach Darrin Jones plans on using youth to his team's advantage this season. 

"I honestly can have any of our 12 guys start," Jones said. "It's nice to have a set lineup, but it's kind of boring because there's no competition within the team. Most people who are set in a job have very little incentive to try and improve.

"We've got a group that's going to push each other, knowing they have a chance to start right away."

Team captains, as voted on by the eight returning players, are junior Chandler Walnsch and redshirt-junior Gabriel Reynolds. Last season, Walnsch was third on the team with a 77.7 scoring average, and Reynolds was fifth with a 79.2 scoring average.

Sophomore Austin Kondratick's 77.4 scoring average in 2015 is the best among this year's returners. As a freshman, his scoring average was the second best on the team. 

"I'm excited to see what (Kondratick) is going to do as a sophomore with experience," Jones said. "He's gotten some of those jitters out of the way, having been on the road."

Rounding out the returning players are sophomores Ethan Blough and Cole Smith, along with redshirt sophomores Tyler Starr and Frank Steffen.

"Last year was Starr and Steffen's first year true year of competition," Jones said. "Starr worked hard over the summer, and Frank's little brother Patrick is joining the team as a freshman. I'm interested to see that dynamic and how those two push each other."

Patrick Steffen will be one of four freshmen. Luke Dorman, Devin Mouser and Chace Rotsinger are the others.

"We have so much depth in the young portion of the team," Jones said. "We try to bring in the right kind of individuals who want to work hard and improve. And at this level, you can out-work the guy next to you."

Jones also said that the team would need to capitalize on par 3s and par 5s to see improvement from last season.

"Had we just played those holes a little better, we would've jumped up close to 10 spots at regionals," he said. "Minimizing errors and taking advantage of opportunities is going to continue to be our focus." 

UP FIRST: Friday (Sept. 9) and Saturday (Sept. 10) at the Malone Tournament at Tannenhauf Golf Club in Alliance, Ohio.