Mount Vernon Nazarene University
800 Martinsburg Rd
Mount Vernon, OH 43050
Cougar Golfers Look to Begin New
Era in 2006
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - With a new head
coach at the reigns and no seniors on the roster, the Mount Vernon Nazarene
University men’s golf team will look to begin a new era when the Cougars hit the
links for the 2006 spring season.
Head coach Mark Stiverson begins his first season at the helm after taking
over for Chris Huff this fall. Stiverson, who is a 1977 graduate of MVNU and
former track and field participant, is no stranger to the team after having
traveled with them on their annual spring trip last year.
MVNU will rely heavily on its two returning juniors, Derek Clark and Jeremy
Schlabach, to anchor the team and provide leadership. After beginning the fall
season as the number three man, Clark put together a solid number one
performance all fall. "A strength to Derek’s game is his very strong mental
approach,” said Stiverson. "While disappointing shots and bad breaks happen, he
analyzes the situation and moves on.”
Schlabach returns after also playing his best golf last fall. "Jeremy’s
approach to each round of golf is a little less stressful than most,” said
Stiverson. "He quietly turns in a respectable round each time out.”
Another major improvement to the talent and work ethic of the team has been
the transfer of sophomore Anthony Savage from the University of the Cumberlands
(Ky.). "You really cannot tell how good or bad Anthony is playing by the look
on his face,” said Stiverson. "He is a blue collar type of golfer who goes out
and plays solid golf at each tournament and posts some of the best scores on the
Sophomores Philip Beard and Tim Hepner also add experience to the MVNU
squad. "Philip will probably hit more balls in practice than just about anyone
on the team,” said Stiverson. "He finished strong in the fall and should reach
new heights this spring.”
Hepner has also proven to be one of the most consistent scorers on the team.
"From tournament to tournament, Tim’s scores are fairly constant in total,”
said Stiverson. "However, he is also one of the players who could really shoot
a low score.”
The lone freshman of the squad is Jared Schlabach, the younger brother of
Jeremy. After winning the Ohio Division III state championship as a senior in
high school, Jared began his college career by shooting the lowest score in the
fall tryouts. "After posting several respectable finishes in the fall, Jared
has been working hard to gain his rhythm and swing that helped him win the high
school state tournament,” said Stiverson.
One other player, sophomore Preston Knight, will red-shirt for the Cougars
this year. Knight, who would compete for playing time now, will sit out this
spring after playing at Bethel (Ind.) College this past fall in order to keep
from losing another season of eligibility.
"I am looking forward to coaching the team this spring,” said Stiverson.
"We implemented a winter workout through our trainer, Dean Taylor, and have
been hitting balls on heated tees whenever possible. On paper, we could beat
just about anyone we competed against in the fall. At a couple of tournaments,
we shot very low rounds for the day. However, all of our tournaments are two
days, and against this competition you cannot afford to spot the field any
strokes. It is all about execution and maybe catching a break here or there.”
"This is a good group of hard workers with pretty good attitudes,” Stiverson
added. "They get along with each other very well and seem to want to help each
other on the course.”
MVNU will get the spring portion of its schedule under way on March 16-17
when the Cougars travel to the Glenville State (W.V.) College Invitational.
Then, the team will leave for their spring trip to Sumter, South Carolina, for
a week of practice rounds.
Following the final tune-up, MVNU will take part in seven tournaments
beginning with the Southeastern Kentucky Intercollegiate Invitational hosted by
the University of the Cumberlands. The Cougars will also travel to tournaments
hosted by Urbana University, Walsh University, Cedarville University, and Malone
College. In addition, the team will host its own tournament on April 14-15 at
Apple Valley Golf Course.
Then, MVNU will take part in the 2006 American Mideast Conference/NAIA
Region IX Tournament on April 27-28 at Apple Valley with an automatic berth in
the NAIA National Tournament on the line. This year’s NAIA National Tournament
will take place in Olathe, Kansas, on May 16-19.