NewsYoung Cougar Golf Team Gains Experience in 2004-2005
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - Featuring a roster with just one senior and no juniors, the Mount Vernon Nazarene University men’s golf team knew that the 2004-2005 season would present plenty of challenges.
The Cougars finished the campaign with a respectable 44-54 overall record as the team continued to improve as the season went along.
MVNU began the season by posting a 15-22 record during the fall portion of the team’s schedule. The Cougars finished fourth at the Tiffin University Invitational and eighth at the Malone College Invitational before wrapping up their early schedule by finishing 13th out of 21 teams at the National Christian College Athletic Association National Tournament in Panama City Beach, Florida.
Following a rigorous routine of indoor workouts during the winter months, MVNU began its fall season by finishing sixth at the Glenville State (W.V.) University Invitational. At the conclusion of that tournament, the Cougars headed to Santee, South Carolina, for a week of practice rounds to make final preparations for the spring season.
Over its next three tournaments, MVNU finished third at the Milligan (Tenn.) College Invitational, fourth at the Shawnee State University Invitational, and second at the Urbana University Invitational. Then, the team posted back-to-back sixth-place finishes at the Walsh University Invitational and the Cougars’ own tournament. A fifth-place finish at the Cedarville University Invitational and a third-place finish at the Ohio Dominican University Invitational closed out the regular season for MVNU.
The Cougars then capped off their year by finishing sixth out of 14 teams at the American Mideast Conference/NAIA Region IX Tournament. The team put together its three most consistent rounds of the year to make the cut after the first day and finish the season on a high note.
"I am very pleased with the way that we ended our season this spring,” said MVNU head coach Chris Huff. "We were the twelfth seed out of 14 teams in the AMC/NAIA Region IX Tournament, but with our hard work and preparation we ended the tournament in sixth place. Raynard Martin and Derek Clark both shot in the 70s in all three rounds.”
Martin, a senior, finished his college career by averaging 78 strokes per round. He earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team at the Cedarville Invitational and the Shawnee State Invitational and he won the Old Fort Bank Shootout at the Tiffin Fall Invitational. He also had an eagle on a par-4 at the Ohio Dominican Invitational.
"We had a very young team this year that needed some college experience,” said Huff. "Raynard gave us solid leadership and good motivation this season.”
Sophomores Clark and Jeremy Schlabach posted averages of 80 and 82 respectively as they continued to gain valuable experience as the only other returning players on the team. Clark tied Martin for the team lead with a 230 at the AMC/NAIA Region IX Tournament.
Freshmen Philip Beard, Michael Willi, and Kyle Vanover all contributed in their first collegiate season with Beard leading the way with an average of 83 strokes per round. He was also named to the All-Tournament Team at the Urbana Invitational as he finished in fifth place with a 158.
"Philip, Michael, and Kyle all improved as the season went on,” said Huff. "With their experience, I believe they will have a big impact on our season next year. I am very excited about next year’s team. We should be able to post more wins in our conference. With our returning players and incoming freshmen, our team is on the right track to get back to the national level again.”
With the loss of only one player to graduation and the addition of several quality recruits including one state champion and a fourth-place finisher at state, the future of the MVNU men’s golf team looks very bright.