Prep golfers ready to tee it up for new season
Prep golf is back!
Area players have been on the links all summer preparing for their seasons.
While the season officially began last Thursday, in Ohio, it kicks into high gear this week with a full slate of matches and tournaments on the horizon.
Some of the ‘major’ events on the schedule are the two-round Buckeye 8 Championship. It begins on Aug. 15 at Cadiz Country Club and the final round will be played at Belmont Hills Country Club on Aug. 30.
The Mid Ohio Valley League will crown another golf champion on Sept. 6 at Oglebay Park’s Crispin Course.
Crispin is actually home to several big events, including the OVAC 1A/2A and 4A tournaments, which will be held concurrently on Sept. 13. The 3A OVAC Tournament is also scheduled for Crispin on Sept. 15.
The annual Ohio Valley Golf League Championship will basically conclude the regular season. It’s scheduled for Sept. 21 at Crispin.
The OHSAA sectional tournament begins the following week with Cadiz Country Club hosting the Division II sectional and Cambridge welcoming the Division III event.
The state tournament in Division II is set for Oct. 14 and 15 and it will be played at Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course. Division III will tee it up at Northstar Golf Resort in Sunbury. The Division II state girls tournament will be played at OSU’s Gray Course on Oct. 14 and 15.
Here’s a capsule look at area schools:
BARNESVILLE — To say the Shamrocks suffered heavy graduation losses might not be giving the class of 2022 enough props.
Veteran head coach Jerry Robinson lost five seniors, including state qualifier Carter Wells. Shamrocks’ number two player Dryden Bauman was also a graduate. Other graduation losses included Jude Hannahs, Colton Hines and Jeremy Hunkler.
“We’ve had a historic run over the last eight years, but this will be the most inexperienced team we’ve had in some time,” Robinson said. “I know there will be some growing pains this season, but the kids are working hard , and I am optimistic they will buy into our winning tradition and improve as they gain experience.”
Leading the way for the Shamrocks are seniors Breanna Flood and Jerney Fox. Flood was a district qualifier a season ago.
The balance of the roster includes sophomore Caden Sellers, Bryson Eddy, Aydon Van Horn, freshmen Hayden Treadway, Graham Spence, Brady Gallagher and Ben Eberhart.
BRIDGEPORT – The Bulldogs are approaching this season as a process.
First year co-coaches Eric Meininger and Don Cash inherit a Bulldogs program that has just four players.
“We are young with a lot of new faces,” Meininger said. “We’re looking to get better one day at a time. These guys have been working hard all summer to get better. We’ll try to compete and learn at every tournament.”
Junior Law Chambers will play the number one spot. Junior Nathan Galownia, junior Brody Puskas and junior Josh Freeman round out the top four.
BUCKEYE LOCAL — Head coach Jim Berze welcomes back a solid collection of players from last season and has added a solid trio of freshmen.
“We are looking forward to a productive season,” Berze said. “We have a great group of golfers that love the game and are continually improving. It’s a pleasure to coach such a great group of student-athletes.”
Leading the way for the Panthers are senior Aiden Polanski and junior Gavyn Romanyak. Both were key contributors a season ago.
Berze also expects freshman Kamden Kinyo, Preston Lindsay and sophomore Adam Blackwell to be among the top five in the varsity lineup.
Rounding out the roster are sophomore Dominic Kempton, freshman Tristan Palmer and freshman John Frank.
The Panthers lost Josh Kerkuta, Cameron Best and Jimmy Hornyak.
Berze is being assisted by Sam Jones.
BUCKEYE TRAIL — Cody Roe has taken over the reins of the Warriors program and boasts both a full roster for the boys and girls teams.
“We are lucky to have such a great group of kids and parents for our first run,” Roe said. “We asked our kids to commit to summer workouts and everyone showed up, putting in the work to get better.”
The boys squad will be led by sophomore Braden St. Clair. He’s being pushed by senior Isaac Beaver, junior Washington Miller, freshman Carson Raber, freshman Harry Miller and junior Blake Miller.
On the girls’ side, senior Samantha Jackson leads the charge along with classmate Emma Fannin.
They’re being pushed by sophomores Delani Roe, Faith Betts, senior Kamden Oldson, senior Charley Rapol, freshman Audra Dyer and junior Grace Milhon.
“We have some great young golfers who are looking to make an impact,” Roe said. “Our girls team has grown tremendously and we’re excited about being able to form a full a team. We have a bunch of talented girls who are looking to compete as well.”
Roe is being assisted by Matt Starr and Dawn Williams.
HARRISON CENTRAL – The Huskies enjoyed a solid season last fall, finishing in the top half of both the OVAC Class 4A and Buckeye 8 tournaments.
Veteran head coach Todd Dunlap returns four players from that team, including solid sophomore Nash Roberts. He led the team in scoring average and pars last season en route to earning Honorable Mention All-Buckeye 8.
Senior Wyatt Foreman and junior Heath Clay are also back after steady seasons last year. Sophomore Kaily Banal picked up a letter last season. Sophomore Ocean Rogers will round out the varsity spots.
Two freshmen vying to crack the lineup are Andrew Cox and Pierce Sobleski.
“Our team lost a couple of key pieces from last year, but the returning players are more than capable of stepping in and continuing the program’s success,” Dunlap said.
LINSLY – Joey Seabright is taking over the reins of the highly successful Cadets program, replacing Mark Landini, who is staying on as an assistant.
The Cadets feature a solid returning nucleus with talented sophomore Adam Gill, who is coming off a rookie season in which he finished second in the OVAC. Late last month, he won the season finale of the Callaway Junior Tour in his age group.
Senior Jose Pedro Coimbra will be on the varsity roster along with sophomores Matt Scouvart and Jaime Romeral. Senior Matteo Guzzo will round out the top five.
The sixth varsity spot could come down to the likes of senior Connor Roberts, sophomore Seve Smathers, junior Kyle White and senior Brenden Moore.
“I am really excited about the potential of this team,” Seabright said. “I’ve got some great kids not only on the golf course, but also in the classroom as well. All of the kids have been playing this summer and working very hard on their games. I’m looking forward to watching them play and am excited to coach them.”
Along with Landini, Seabright is also being assisted by John Martin.
JOHN MARSHALL — The Monarchs are entering the season with “unfinished business” according to veteran head coach Dave Gaudino.
The Monarchs finished second in the OVAC 5A tournament and were eventually fifth in the SSAC’s State Tournament.
However, most of the boys roster returns, including seniors Colton Sprowls and Ethan Cook. Senior Ty Cox is also expected to play a key role.
Additional depth is being supplied by junior Raymond Steed, junior Zane Mozingo and Payten Clark. Freshmen Brandt Blake and Jasper Murrin are also vying for spots.
Depth is supplied by junior Isaac Merritt, sophomores Harmon Crawford and Landyn Ruckman. Two freshmen Bryson Moore and Joshua Elias are also in the mix.
For the seventh time, the Monarchs will field a full girls team. Leading the way is Payten Clark. Gaudino is also high on junior Amelia Kaste and sophomore Jocelyn Blatt. First-year golfer Lilly Roman has been impressive during the preseason and summer and is expected to be in the mix.
Gaudino’s coaching staff includes August Hanson, Melanie Knutsen and Ed West.
MARTINS FERRY — Veteran head coach Mike Beck welcomes back a solid corps from a season ago and boasts a roster of an impressive 14 players.
The Purple Riders will boast a full girls team this season.
“Numbers wise, we have a great turnout,” Beck said. “However, of those 14, only five are returning players. I expect a lot of healthy competition, which I think will result in new kids being in and out of the lineup. They’re really pushing each other for our top six spots.”
Senior Rocky Schau returns in search of his fourth letter, but he’s been slowed by injury in the preseason.
Junior Matthew Kennedy returns with two letters on his resume. However, he, too, has been battling back from injury.
Three sophomores returning are Julia Hancock, Vinnie West and Danielle Helsel.
“I am looking for big things from Julia this year,” Beck said. “She has been literally working all year round and her improvements have shown on the summer circuits.”
Beck expects seniors Joe Green, who is out for high school golf for the first time, to be in the top six along with classmate Trey Regis.
“Trey has been working really hard this summer and Joe is relatively new to the game, but he’s shown some flashes of being a good player for us.”
Freshman Nolan Zambori is expected to be one of the Purple Riders’ leaders. He’s enjoyed a brilliant summer, playing in numerous events.
“I am really excited about Nolan,” Beck said. “He’s just a freshman, but his game is that of an older player. He’s made a decision to focus on golf and his scores are showing that it’s paying off.”
Freshman Michael Green is a player Beck believes “has a bright future” in golf.
The balance of the roster includes: senior Patrick Kinnan, senior Winnie Luong, junior Carter Bennett, freshmen Miranda Volan and Alanna Williams.
The Purple Riders lost both Colby Shriver and Collin Snedeker to graduation.
MONROE CENTRAL BOYS – Numbers, experience and expectations are all up for the Seminoles.
Coach Jared Highman returns five players from a season ago and has 10 players on the squad, all told.
“We’re a young team, but I can see a lot of good things happening,” Highman said. “I’m excited to see what this group can accomplish this year.”
Junior Zander Potts leads the way for the Seminoles. He qualified for the district tournament last season and he earned his way to the Under Armour Junior Nationals in Florida this summer. Senior Jake Winland will also be one of the Seminoles’ leaders this season.
Three sophomores are back in the lineup after solid rookie seasons. They are Owen Weckbacher, Wesley Loch and James Williams.
Junior Lane Demchak and sophomore Dylan Parden are out for the first time and three freshmen – Bryant Zwick, Mason Landefeld and Caleb Griffith – round out the roster.
“I’m excited to see what this team can accomplish,” Highman said.
MONROE CENTRAL GIRLS – Stephanie Highman returns for another season with the Seminoles and actually so does every player she coached last season.
The Seminoles have a full girls team for the second consecutive season and Highman hopes that there is continued growth for her players.
“Our hope, every year, is to see the team grow and improve their score from the beginning of the season until the end of the season,” Highman said. “With all of the girls returning, I am excited to see what this team can do.”
The roster includes seniors Ashley Weckbacher, Destiny Crawford, junior Chloe Christman, sophomore Abigail Kinney and Lanie Largent.
RIVER BOYS – The Pilots didn’t lose a player from last season and increased their roster size, so head coach Blaze Amos enters the season quite excited.
“Being able to compete as a team, unlike last year, is great,” Amos said. “I know we will make large strides toward tournament time.”
The Pilots will be led by senior Grady Palmer. Sophomore Dustin West and senior Chris Dubon will rotate between the two and three spots. Freshman Kaden Hunt is a first-year player.
RIVER GIRLS – The Pilots have underwent a coaching change on the female side. Justin Fetty stepped down following last season and Jesse Merckle has taken over.
Merckle inherits a team that boasts four players, but none are seniors.
Junior Keira Saksa is the leader of the team. She was an All-Eastern District selection last season. Classmate Brielle Grimes, sophomore Jaime Smith and freshman Ambie Grimes round out the squad.
The lone graduation loss for the Pilot girls was Sierra Littleton.
“This team has put in the hard work to improve during the offseason and hopefully will reap the benefits come tournament time,” Merckle said. “Everyone can expect big things from the Lady Pilots.”
ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The Red Devils came up just five shots short of qualifying for the Division II state tournament a season ago. Ryan Clifford’s team, still very young, is now looking to take the next step.
However, though still talented, the Red Devils must replace two of their top six from a season ago in Will Foster and Saul Crist. Also gone is Brooke Chamberlain, who is now playing at West Liberty.
“We will have to replace a very solid class and our top five will consist of four sophomores and a freshman,” Clifford said. “Having said that, we still feel we have a chance to be really solid.”
The Red Devils, who won the Buckeye 8, OVAC, OVGL and sectional last season, will be led by the sophomore trio of Brodi Foster, Evan Fix and Andrew Abel. All three racked up an impressive list of accomplishments. Foster was All-OVAC, All-Buckeye 8 and All-OVGL, while Fix was the OVGL champion and Abel was All-OVGL and All-Buckeye 8.
“The top three boys in our lineup have played in some high-pressure situations and we’ll lean on those guys until the others get their feet wet,” Clifford said.
Sophomore Ethan Turner is expected to contribute and freshman Olivia Baker is one to keep an eye on, too. She’s expected to be part of the Red Devils’ scorers during the regular season.
The balance of the roster includes: freshman Alexander Bryniarski, Olivia Poziviak, junior Delaney Florence and senior Megan Malin.
“With the amount of golf these kids have played this summer, we’re excited to get started,” Clifford said.
Clifford is being assisted by John Nemeti.
ST. JOHN CENTRAL ACADEMY – The Irish are starting a golf program for the first time in the school’s brief history.
Jim Totterdale is serving as the head coach and has one male and one female player on the team.
“We are an upstart team with potential,” Totterdale said. “The kids are working hard and hopefully some good luck is in our future.”
The boy on the team is sophomore Oliver Jackson and the girl is junior Lauren Moran.
SHADYSIDE — The Tigers begin the new season with five boys and one female playing the sport with Dave Ragase back as the head coach.
Leading the way for Shadyside will be junior Luke Bell and senior Garrett Grover. Both were complimented by Ragase for their leadership.
“We are looking for a lot from Garrett and Luke,” Ragase said. “Both in terms of their leadership and with their (playing) experience. What I do know is our freshmen have been working really hard because of the guidance from Luke and Garrett.”
The three freshmen on the roster are Coltin Harman, Isaiah Filburn and Brandon O’Grady.
On the girls’ side, junior Taylor Forbes is on the roster.
Shadyside lost Grace Green, who is set to play at Bloomsburg this season; Kris Tsoras, who is planning to play at Point Park, as well as Cameron Davis and Ryan Crall to graduation.
UNION LOCAL — The Jets have underwent a coaching change as Alli DeLaney has taken over for Zach Delman, who stepped down to focus on his growing family as well as the school’s boys basketball program.
DeLaney inherits a squad that she believes should be able “to compete” quite well this fall.
“We have all of the boys back and we’re expecting a lot from them,” DeLaney said. “We’re really looking forward to the season.”
The Jets are led by senior Beezer Porter, who had a strong 2021 campaign. He was an All-OVAC and All-Buckeye 8 performer and narrowly missed qualifying to the Division II state tournament.
Pushing Porter are senior Lee Adkins, sophomore Sean Alkire, senior Landon Crum and senior Rylan Luyster.
The balance of the Jets’ boys roster includes: senior D.J. Butts, senior Logan Perkins, junior Jett Jeffries, sophomore Heston Shaver, sophomore JT Dubiel, sophomore Kaiden Barone, sophomore Gilby Carpenter, sophomore Carson Ogilbee, freshmen Dylan Verbeck and Noah Bailey.