In 2017, the Kalida and Spencerville boys golf teams earned spots in the Division III state tournament.
Kalida came in seventh and Spencerville 11th. Each team experienced varsity competitors back and looks to get back to state and improve on last year’s finish.
Leading the way for Kalida is senior Christian Nartker, who shot a two-day total of 13-over 157 at state for the 16th best score in D-III. Also back after playing at state in 2017 are juniors Josh Recker and Alec Edelbrock along with fellow letter winners juniors David Peck and Grace Miller, who reached districts in the D-II girls competition.
“(We’re) looking to keep the Wildcat tradition of excellence and being very competitive,” Kalida coach Ken Schnipke said. “I am looking to improve as the season goes forward and to finish on a positive side.”
Pacing Spencerville will be junior brothers Ethan and Gavin Harmon, who shot 175 and 177 respectively at state. Also back with state tourney experience for the Bearcats are seniors Drake Mertz and Alex Gallman.
“After a few years of being a young team, we are entering this season with mostly upperclassmen and guys with a lot of experience,” Spencerville coach Mike Harmon said. “We have a lot of confidence going into this season after a great season last fall. Our guys all get along well and have good team chemistry.
“Our goal is always to win every match we play. Last year we set a goal of making it to the state tournament and accomplished that. This year we set out to return to the state tournament and improve our performance there. We have a few other goals along the way such as winning the (Northwest Conference).
Here is a conference-by-conference breakdown:
Columbus Grove senior Jacob Oglesbee and Delphos Jefferson sophomore Logan Gallmeier joined the Harmons in earning first team all-NWC honors last year.
Second team members back this year include Lincolnview seniors Ryan Moody and Reece Farmer, Paulding senior Cole Heller, Mertz, Allen East senior Nick Phillips and Columbus Grove senior Zac Roberts.
Those who earned honorable mention recognition include Paulding senior Fletcher Cook, Crestview senior Colton Lautzenheiser, Lincolnview seniors Braden Evans and Jaden Youtsey and Gallman.
“I expect great things out of this year’s team,” Lincolnview coach Daryl Dowdy said. “The ultimate goal is always to make it to state, win the conference, get golfers on the all-district team … the all-conference team and to perform to the best of their ability. The seniors that are back are hungry after falling short of a conference title and coming in third (overall in the NWC). This team feels it has a lot to prove to other teams that they do deserve to be one of the top golf teams in the state and with hard work and dedication they will succeed.”
“This year’s Paulding Panther team will be feeding off of its second-place finish in the NWC,” Paulding coach Steve Heilshorn said. “I believe the depth that we have in the program as well as us hosting this year’s NWC tournament will give a great opportunity to come out on top of the conference.”
“We could move into the top half of the league if we continue to work hard on the short game and course management,” Delphos Jefferson coach Shane Gallmeier said. Letter winners returning for the Wildcats along with Gallmeier are senior Matt Schroeder and juniors Braxton Scalf and Brady Johnston.
Columbus Grove coach Travis Gallmeier said his Bulldogs return their top six (Oglesbee, Roberts, juniors Owen and Austin Macke, senior Gabe Verhoff and sophomore Justin Flanders) from 2017 and look to improve on their PCL and NWC rankings. The team will rely on experience to be successful this season.”
“We are looking to get better everyday and have a great late September,” Allen East coach Mike Abbey said. Back for the Mustangs along with Phillips are letter winners sophomore Carter Frey and senior Brady Harris.
“This will be a big year for these guys,” Ada coach Jason Campbell said about his team. “All six (seniors Austin Amburgey, Jacob Colwell and Rob Allison, juniors Alex Morgan and Ethan Hull and sophomore Brevin Sizemore) have varsity experience and have been developing their game for a couple of seasons.”
Putnam County League
Nartker and Recker made the all-PCL first tearm and Edelbrock and Miller were second-team members for the conference champs.
Miller City’s Luke Lammers and Boyd Vance III earned first-team all-PCL spots as juniors. Oglesbee, Roberts and Austin Macke earned second-team spots as did Leipsic junior Mason Tadena and Ottoville seniors Dylan Kemper and Ethan Geise.
Miller City coach Todd Pester foresees improvement from Lammers and expects his team to “be decent with five returning lettermen (in Lammers, Vance III, Stevan Stechschulte, senior Reid Carr and sophomore T.J Michel).”
Ottoville coach Jim Brown said “We have a nice group of seniors returning with some underclassmen that may see some varsity time. We are looking to improve each day and hopefully compete well in the PCL.” Letter winners back for the Big Green include Kemper, Geise, seniors Zack Knippen and Tyler Birr, junior Evan Turnwald and sophomore Jack Langhals.
Despite having six top players (Tadena, junors Brock Lammers, Eli Wueller and Ben Haselman and sophomores Jaden Siefker and Alex Gerdeman) back from 2017, “none are seniors,” Leipsic coach Kevin Brandt said. “So, class-wise, we are still young, but we have plenty of match experience. We are going to take one day at a time and just focus on improving each day. With consistent practice habits and effort the wins will eventually come.”
Fort Jennings had four non-seniors (seniors Simon Smith and Collin Young and juniors Logan Schimmoeller and Brandon Suever) compete in sectionals last year and coach Todd Hoehn said expects to “be more experienced in the top portion of our lineup. We need to work on our course management and short game. We look to compete with the teams on our schedule and anticipate individuals improving as the season progresses.”
Western Buckeye League
Overall WBL co-champs Shawnee and Wapakoneta had three and two non-seniors compete for squads that reached the Division I Red Hawk district last year.
“We will have a fairly young and inexperienced team,” Wapak coach Mike Brown said. “I hope to see a lot of team growing this year. We are just going to have to wait and see if the younger boys can get to a higher competitive level for high school golf. Either way, we look forward to the golf season and the new challenges in front of us.”
Bath reached the Red Hawk D-II district and went unbeaten in league matches with an all-senior lineup.
“After going 9-0 in the WBL last year and graduating 10 seniors, seven of which played varsity, its going to be a rebuilding year,” Bath coach Michael Vieira said. “We have a few new seniors and two women who should compete for the four and five position that should also let us stay competitive in league matches.”
First-team all-WBL members and D-II district competitors seniors Rocco Longbrake (Kenton) and Austin Radcliff (O-G) are back.
Those earning all-WBL honorable mention status that weren’t seniors in 2017 included Wapak senior Drew Zwiebel, Celina senior Lance Mawer, Shawnee junior John Barker, St. Marys junior Austin Boley, Van Wert junior Austin Bissonette and O-G senior Evan Ellerbrock.
St. Marys coach Steve Schmitmeyer is “looking forward to an excellent year with big expectations. Four of our players participated in most of the Lima Junior Golf Association tournaments this summer.” Besides Boley, letter winners seniors Clay Quellhorst and Alex Kreischer and sophomore Reese Sweigart are back for the Roughriders.
“We are a very young team,” Van Wert coach Kim Doidge said. “We only have one golfer with two years’ experience. We are trying to compete for the top half of the WBL.”
Kenton junior Peyton Roby, Wapak senior Dylan Timmerman and Shawnee seniors Justin Behnke and Jake Hutchins also helped their teams reach districts. Senior Gabe Bogan and sophomore Jon Hefner joined Zwiebel and Timmerman in earning letters for Wapak. Along with Bissionette, letter winners junior Gavin Flickinger and sophmores Cameran Terhark and Evan Knittle return for Van Wert.
Also back for Celina are sophomore letter winners Aaron Winnhoven and Hunter Walters.
“We will be young and inexperienced but anchored by four-year varsity letter winner Lance Mawer,” Celina coach Aaron Daniels said. “We should continue to get better and surprise some people come WBL tournament and (the postseason).”
Junior letter winners Riley Creps, Jacob Ramirez and Dylan Buetner return for Elida.
“We are young and inexperienced,” said Elida coach Denny Thompson, who hopes to be middle of the pack in the WBL.
Also back from O-G’s sectional squad are junior Alex Everbrock and sophomores Zach Stechschulte and Carson Trombley.
Northwest Central Conference
First team all-NWC member senior Brady Hipsher from Upper Scioto Valley is back along with honorable mention teammate senior Dylan Thompson. Waynesfield-Goshen junior Gauge Rumer and Perry senior Josh Dyer also made honorable mention.
“Brady has a solid chance for player of the year in the conference,” USV coach Craig Ludwig said. “He missed state last year by one shot. The team has a good chance to the conference and a possible chance to get to district.”
Other letter winners back for USV include seniors Korwin Kurtz and Kayden Parker and juniors Tyler Gratz and Jared Hunt.
“We do a nice job of being competitive every time we step on a course,” W-G coach Craig Ludwig said. “We are looking to compete in the league and be in the fight for the top positions after the league tournament. Also, we look for improvement in our team score at sectional time.”
Other letter winners back for W-G include junior Gavin Schneider and sophomores Hyatt Kaufman and Mason Boggs.
Among those competing for Perry at sectionals in 2017 besides Dyer were junior Keaton Miller and sophomore Adam Liles.
Letter winners back for Ridgemont include seniors Payne Clark and Danielle Mouser, juniors Carson James and Gage Furer and sophomores Collin Wallace and Hannah Shoffner.
“The season should be an enjoyable one with the attitude of the golfers as we expect to see improvement all season long,” Ridgemont coach Greg Johnson said.
Midwest Athletic Conference
First team all-MAC members seniors Adam Gerker and Grant Csukker are back for Delphos St. John’s, which went 8-1 in conference matches and qualified for districts.
“This season we again should be competitive in our league,” DSJ coach John Klausing said. “Our underclassmen have worked hard this summer.”
Others who made the first team in 2017 include St. Henry seniors Rylee Deitsch and Jack Romer, Parkway senior Mason Baxter and Minster junior Grant Voisard.
Second-teamers from last year include senior Logan Lazier, junior Grant Koenig and sophomore Joseph Magoto from Minster, Knew Knoxville senior Ray Newton and St. Henry junior Reed Koesters.
Those earning honorable mention last year include DSJ junior Jared Lucas, New Bremen senior Cole Hemmelgarn, Fort Recovery junior Grant Knapke and Coldwater senior Nathan Kaiser.
St. Henry coach John Dorner said his team “should have another solid season in 2018 with three returning lettermen (Romer, Koesters, Deitsch).
“Lucas Grieshop returns in 2018 after sitting out 2017 with back issues. Andrew Mescher steps up after golfing JV No. 1 last year, and freshman Sam Koesters (Reed’s brother) will look to jump into the scoring column in 2018 as well.
Despite having senior letter winners Mason Baxter, who qualified for districts in 2o17, Andy Metz and Duncan Morton back, Parkway coach Joe Falk said “we are fairly young, so we are looking to work on improving our ball striking and not losing shots on and around the green.”
Letter winners seniors Tim Knapschaefer and Seth Kelch and sophomore Logan Fleck return for Marion Local.
“Marion Local coach David Koenig says he has “seven new golfers and eight guys from last year’s team fighting for six varsity spots.”
Sophomore letter winners Ross Otto, Alex Wisser and Casey Koenig return for Lima Central Catholic.
“We are a very young team, but the guys have really been working hard and getting better,” LCC coach Scott Gronas said. “We are looking to be more consistent from tee to green and save shots around and on the greens.”
Three (senior Latrelle Moore and juniors Jaylen and Jayden Donald) of the four competitors that played for Lima Senior in the Division I Mohawk Golf & Country Club sectional weren’t seniors. Leipsic’s Tadena and Wueller made honorable mention all-Blanchard Valley Conference.
Reach Mike Purdy at 567-242-0451.