Men’s golf to tee off spring season
The men’s golf team is heading into the 2014 spring season with one word in mind: consistency. A talented group of young and experienced players will look to pick up where they left off last season and finish strong.
Head golf coach Aaron Rodeffer said, “Going into the spring, I think our biggest strength is just some consistency. Some of the older guys come to mind when I say that. Those guys have been through the fire a little bit. We had a very sub-par performance at the conference championship last year, and I think they are anxious to put that behind them.”
Senior exercise sport science major and four-year golfer for the university, Justin Judkins, agrees that the experience combined with the young talent will be something that could propel the team to places they haven’t reached in years past.
“I’d say the fact that we have strong freshmen, as well as a group of seniors and juniors that have played together for three and four years will be to our advantage. We are going into the season with a lot of confidence and look forward to keeping up the good play that we had in the fall.”
As always, men’s golf in the ASC is packed with quality teams, but the Cru believe they are right at the top of the list.
“Thinking about the fall, we played really well,” Rodeffer said. “Probably the best fall we have had since I have been here. The scoring average was 296, and we were bouncing in and out of the top 25, so I think the biggest thing that I look forward to in the spring is these older guys really stepping up to the plate and performing.”
The way last season ended provided the guys with a valuable lesson that anyone in the conference is capable of winning. The conference just continues to get tougher as the years go on, but the Cru know they have to take care of business on their end, and the rest will fall into place.
“With Schreiner winning last season, we’ve learned to not count anyone out, so we are just preparing ourselves the best we can,” Judkins said.
The weather in just the few short weeks that the Cru have been practicing has been rough, but it is just another thing that the men will have to block out in order to keep up the low scores they experienced in the fall.
“Conditions are obviously more difficult in the spring,” Rodeffer said. “The golf courses aren’t in the best shape. The weather is usually terrible. But, I think they still have that competitive fire in them, and they are ready to get out there and make a statement.”
The Cru start their first tournament of the spring at Concordia University, and numerous ASC teams will be there. It will be an opportunity to see where the men stand early in the season.
In the fall, the Cru played neck and neck with the UT Tyler, who always seems to be one of the teams to beat in the ASC.
Senior Pablo Medrano said, “There was great competitiveness during our home qualifying rounds in the fall. We played in Florida with the top 25 teams and we had a lot of fun and learned a lot from the experience.”
The Cru start the season on the road Feb. 17.
“We are trying to practice as much as we can, given the cold conditions. If it’s not freezing, we are out there improving our game.,” Medrano said.
One thing that has attributed to the strength of the conference is the power of recruiting. Along with Rodeffer, other coaches in the ASC as well as Division III as a whole have made it a point to search out talented golfers no matter where they are located.
“Recruiting is big for us,” Rodeffer said. “I have been fortunate enough to have some international guys as well as guys from all around the country. I don’t think there is such a thing as a DIII athlete. I search out young men who I think can contribute and help out my program in all aspects.”