While spring sports like baseball and softball are a bit harder to train and plan for during a trying offseason such as this last one, golf benefits from being a sport where individual work is encouraged and expected a bit more than the others.Couple that with golf courses being open at a much higher rate than most other things have been during the pandemic, and the worry of rust and getting back into the swing of things aren’t too big of an issue heading into this spring season.Lakeland boys golf coach Jon Roush has a small roster of eight, but he feels confident in his team’s ability to “make some noise” this season due to the work they’ve put in leading up to the start of competition.
“I’m not really worried about rust at all,” Roush said. “Three of my top-five projected starters have been playing in traveling tours over the summer. Ben and Nate (Kiel) have been through a couple different tours, Tommy (Curtis) has been working and my two seniors Luke (Franke) and Carson (Aldrich) have been playing a lot this spring before golf even started. … I’m expecting some pretty big things out of them.”The same can be said for multi-sport athlete Brockton Miller from West Noble. The senior has been golfing a lot with courses more readily available, and even when they were closed, he’d be out in his yard, hitting golf balls into a five-gallon bucket as a way to stay sharp with a club in his hands.“I am very grateful,” said Miller when asked about having the chance to compete his senior year. “It was tough seeing what happened to my friends and to know that it could’ve happened to yourself, it makes you not take any of these days for granted.”Like Roush, Miller feels confident that his team has a chance to be very good this year, and he hopes that his game helps take West Noble deep into the postseason this year.“I’m hoping to move on into sectionals,” Miller said. “I haven’t done it yet with my team or myself yet, so that’s the number one goal. I’m excited to try and make that push.”Ultimately though, the chance to compete again after nearly two years is what excites both Roush and Miller the most about the upcoming season.“It feels awesome,” Roush said. “I can’t tell you how much fun it is to be back with the guys. I missed it last year a lot. Especially with what could’ve been last year with the type of team I had. But I’m ready for them to get out and participate and really see what we can do.”“It was tough seeing how good we could’ve been last year,” Miller added. “With how much it stung last season not having a chance to compete knowing we could’ve made a push at sectionals last season, I’m just really glad we get to have this season with another great group of guys.”BETHANY CHRISTIAN BRUINSHead coach: Jon Shenk, sixth yearAssistant coaches: Eldon Heatwole, Jacob SaylorReturning letterwinners from 2019: Senior: Aaron Shenk; Junior: Austin ShenkOther varsity players: Sophomores: Cameron Heinisch, Olivia Renze; Freshman: Eliott BordenWhat are you most grateful for this season? “Even after losing a season last year, I am grateful for the hard work put in by my top players. They continued to work on their games when we could not play as a team. I am also thankful that we have a better understanding of what we need to do in order to manage the spread of COVID-19. If we (as a team and community) can continue to act on this knowledge, it is optimistic that we can have a season with few, if any, missed matches,” coach Shenk said.CONCORD MINUTEMENHead coach: Jeff Petty, first year at ConcordAssistant coach: Tara BoesslerReturning letterwinners from 2019: Seniors: Will Harris, Andrew Bondurant; Junior: Liam McDowellOther varsity players: Seniors: Gavin Smith, Brayden Newburn; Freshmen: Ben HarrisWhat are you most grateful for this season? “I am grateful that these boys get to compete after two years of hard work,” coach Petty said.FAIRFIELD FALCONSHead coach: John Kauffman, fourth season (32-7 overall)Assistant coach: Kurtis MillerReturning letterwinners from 2019: Junior Noah HochstetlerOther varsity players: Seniors: Dylan Yoder, Ethan Yoder; Sophomores: Colton Johnson, Caleb Decker, Brock McDonald, Andrew Miller, Carter Kitson, Caleb Miller, Lincoln Penrose, Ashton Miller, Carson Yoder, Matt Henry; Freshman: Miles NineWhat are you most grateful for this season? “Thankful for the return of golf after missing out last year. So far the weather has been great, and I am thankful for that. I have only one player that was on the team from 2019. But have a real nice sized roster and excited to get the season started,” coach Kauffman said.GOSHEN REDHAWKSHead coach: Brent Randall, 30th year coaching boys golf (15th year at Goshen HS), 149-97 in 13 seasons at GoshenAssistant coach: Matt NafzigerReturning letterwinners from 2019: Senior: Cameron Schneider; Juniors: Chase Meyer, Jacob Moyer, Zach Subera; Sophomores: Jackson Guipe
Other varsity players: Seniors: Kalvin Russell; Juniors: Harrison Savchuk; Sophomores: Julien Keim, Preston Schuetz; Freshmen: Sebastian Eikler, Kaden SchuetzWhat are you most grateful for this season? “Our team missed the competition last year when the pandemic took our entire season. Our team is focused and hungry for the big stage with starters back from the team that finished third at the sectional in 2019 and played in the regional. The competition has sharpened us. We are ready to have a break out year for Goshen boys golf,” coach Randall said.LAKELAND LAKERSHead coach: Jon Roush, 21st seasonAssistant coach: Chris KeilReturning letterwinners from 2019: Seniors: Carson Aldrich, Luke FrankeOther varsity players: Sophomores: Tommy Curtis, Ben Keil; Freshmen: Nathan Kiel, Keith Miller, Noah Owsley, Carter LoveallWhat are you most grateful for this season? “I’m happy to finally be back with these guys and happy that they’re able to play this year. We should be much improved this year with the addition of a couple pretty good underclassmen. I’m excited to watch these guys develop as the season moves along,” coach Roush said.NORTHRIDGE RAIDERSHead coach: Todd King (First year at Northridge; 16-20 in two seasons at Elkhart Memorial)Assistant coach: Ken BrewsterReturning letterwinners from 2019: Seniors: Landon Cawood; Juniors: Tyler Frazier, Ty MillerOther varsity players: Juniors: Caden Mack; Sophomores: Brock ReschlyWhat are you most grateful for this season? “After losing last season, I am so grateful that all spring sports get a chance to play. Last year’s seniors never got that chance, so we are going to make the most of it for all of them,” coach King said.NORTHWOOD PANTHERSHead coach: Phil Ummel, third seasonAssistant coach: Steve MathewsReturning letterwinners from 2019: Seniors: Jon Cripe, Kyle Cripe; Juniors: Cooper WiensOther varsity players: Senior: Ben Vincent; Juniors: Brady Chupp, Drew Callander; Sophomores: Chase Feenstra, Ashton Hochstetler, Earl WilliamsWhat are you most grateful for this season? “I am most grateful for the opportunity to just be together and build relationships through the game of golf. Unfortunately, the pandemic and missing last season has caused so much pain, disappointment, and isolation in the lives of many. We hope this season can do the opposite and cause so much joy, celebration, and togetherness. That’s why it is so important that we are grateful for each day we have together and cherish the relationships that we can build through this wonderful game,” coach Ummel said.WAWASEE WARRIORSHead Coach: Steve Coverstone, 21st seasonReturning letterwinners from 2019: Senior: Tyler Bostick; Juniors: Caleb Clevenger, Caden Welty, Victor TayaguaOther varsity players: Aiden Jonsson, Clayton Firestone, Vaughn Dyson, Riley MenzieWEST NOBLE CHARGERSHead coach: Marc Daniel, fifth yearReturning letterwinners from 2019: Seniors: Brock Miller; Juniors: Brayden BohdeOther varsity players: Junior: Brenden Parson; Sophomores: Rodrigo Melchor, Luke SchermerhornWhat are you most grateful for this season? “I am grateful for having the two letterwinners return to lead us through this season and help guide the new players. I would also mention the weather making it so golf courses could open up earlier this year,” coach Daniel said.WESTVIEW WARRIORSHead Coach: Jeff MarchantVarsity roster: Juniors: Carl Miller, Nathan Miller, Gramm Egli, Isaac Rogers, Bryce Barton, Zachary Miller, Landon Bennett, Elijah Hostetler; Sophomores: Evan Litwiller, Ethan Konkle, Logan Schwartz, Justin Miller; Freshmen: Judson Hershberger, Wade Springer, Riley Helman, Carson BrownWhat are you most grateful for this season? “With no season last year, this is really a new team with little experience at the varsity level, but we do have some players returning that were a part of the 2019 season. We are all looking forward to getting started and are hoping to have a complete season this year. We are going to be working on building confidence one match at a time and taking the positives from each match to the next one,” coach Marchant said.