Fort Loramie’s boys golf team missed out on a state berth last year after qualifying in 2019 and 2020. The squad is aiming for a state berth this year with five lettermen returning.
“We’ve got talent at the top of the roster and depth all the way through,” 15th-year coach Brad Turner said. “A good score could come from any one of the seven guys that will play in varsity matches this season.
“We should put up a low score on a consistent basis and we match up very well with most Division III teams in the area. It should be a good and fun year.”
Fort Loramie senior Adam Ballas is looking to wrap up his career as a four-time Shelby County Athletic League player of the year. He earned those honors for a third consecutive year last season and earned medalist honors at the SCAL meet by shooting a 72.
Ballas, who had a nine-hole average of 36.89 last year, is off to a good start this year.
He shot a 71 in the Dayton Christian Invitational last week at Pipestone Golf Club in Miamisburg, a 69 in the SCAL preview on Monday at Shelby Oaks Golf Club and a 72 in Fort Loramie’s Invitational on Tuesday at Arrowhead Golf Club.
“He’s a great golfer because he has put in an incredible amount of time and work into the game,” Turner said. “He pushed himself and played in some big events this season and qualified for the Ohio Amateur Championship. We are very lucky to have him in our program and I look forward to seeing what he can do this season.”
Also back are seniors Aiden Wehrman and Austin Pleiman, junior Noah Mannier and sophomore Beau Schafer. All four in addition to Ballas were letterwinners last year.
Wehrman had a nine-hole average of 40.71 last year and is also a four-year varsity golfer. Pleiman averaged 46.46 last year, and Turner said he has gained valuable experience the last couple of years. Mannier and Schafer each have gained experience in the last year, and Turner expects both to put up good numbers this year.
Newcomers in junior AJ Ruhenkamp and freshman Jack Cotner will round out the varsity squad.
“AJ has been with us since his freshman year and has steadily gotten better and better as he’s grown into the game,” Turner said. “… It’ll be important to get him some experience this season as he will be a key part of what we can do next year. Jack comes in with all the fundamentals and loads of enthusiasm for the game of golf. He will have an immediate impact on our team and will settle in to a very important role this year and will be a big part of what we can do in the years to come.”
The Redskins have been off to a strong start. They finished first in the SCAL preview with a 320, 10 strokes ahead of second-place Russia.
Fort Loramie tied for second in the SCAL last year in what was a strong year for the league’s seven teams. Turner expects another strong year this season.
“The team Botkins had last year was likely the best team that the SCAL has ever had. I’m not sure if they are the favorite for this season though because they did lose a lot of very good golfers. Russia and Houston have a lot of talent and depth coming back and I would say that those two teams along with us will be in the top half of the standings when the season closes out.
“There continues to be great golf played in the SCAL and I’m certain that many SCAL golfers will move on to the district tournament and some will compete to move on to the state tournament.”
Sidney finished second in the Miami Valley League Valley Division last year and is looking for a divisional title this year according to sixth-year coach Bill Rippey.
“Stebbins is the favorite, but we are right behind them,” Rippey said. “Five of our guys have at least one year of varsity experience. They will need to use the experience to get past Stebbins.”
Seniors Tycen Money and Kade Schmiesing and sophomore Carter Wooddell are three squad’s top returning lettermen. Money had a 46.6 nine-hole average last season while Schmiesing had a 49.8 average and Wooddell had a 48.9 average.
“Tycen has put in more time in this past year than anyone else and it is going to pay dividends. If Tycen gains a little more confidence, he has a legit chance for districts,” Rippey said. “Kade Schmiesing keeps getting better each year. He has grown so much from last year. If his short game is on, his scores will only get better this year.
“Carter Wooddell was amazing for us last year. I rarely take freshmen on the varsity team, but the hope was to give him experience. If he builds on the experience, he could be one of the top golfers in the Valley Division.”
Also returning are junior Ryan Bennett and sophomore Garrett Guinther. Rippey expects Bennett will be the squad’s fourth scorer this year, along with Money, Schmiesing and Wooddell.
“Ryan Bennett has one of the better swings on the team,” Rippey said. “Once he believes in himself, his game should be a great attribute to the team.”
Wooddell led the Yellow Jackets with an 88 at the Fort Loramie Invitational on Tuesday. Money and Schmiesing each shot 91 and Bennett shot 98.
Key newcomers according to Rippey include sophomore Andrew Adams and freshmen Myles Steenrod and Brooks Taylor.
Rippey said MVL Miami Division squads Tippecanoe and Vandalia-Butler should be the top two teams in the conference.
The Raiders finished sixth in a stacked SCAL last year and are looking for improvement this year with several strong golfers back.
Leading the returnees is senior Ross Fiessinger. He was a first team all-SCAL selection last year and shot a team-best 84 in the SCAL meet. He’s off to a strong start this season and shot an 81 in the SCAL preview on Monday.
Senior Xavier Phlipot and juniors Felix Francis and Jude Counts also return to varsity. Sophomores Dominic Francis and Vince Borchers look to provide depth.
All five of the golfers shot under 90 in the SCAL preview on Monday. Borchers shot 82, Counts shot 83, Dominic Francis shot 84, Phlipot shot 86 and Felix Francis shot 89.
Paul Bremigan returns as the squad’s coach.
Houston coach Nate Fridley has led an effort to build up the program over the last several years, and the improvement is evident.
The squad finished in the bottom three in SCAL standings between 2016 and 2020 before tying for fourth place last year. Aside from the improved league finish, the squad also earned a district berth for the first time in program history.
With three golfers returning and several solid newcomers joining varsity, Houston is looking to reach new heights this year.
Parker Herrick, Ethan Lukey and Tanner Voisard are the squad’s three returnees. Lukey, a junior, was a first team all-SCAL selection last year.
“These three golfers continue to impress me with their work ethic and will look to build upon their success from last year,” Fridley said.
Lukey shot a 79 in the SCAL preview on Monday while Herrick shot 85 and Voisard shot 88. Their scores helped the squad earn a third-place finish with a 345 team score, 15 strokes behind second-place Russia.
Key newcomers include juniors Gabe Stangel and Ethan Dinehart, sophomore Reagan Steiner and freshman Luke Crim. Stangel and Steiner played some on varsity in previous years, and Fridley said they worked hard this summer in preparation for becoming full-time varsity golfers.
“Reagan played the most golf of any team member this summer and has already improved his scoring average by 10 strokes (per 18 holes) since last fall,” Fridley said. “I am very lucky to have Reagan on our team for three more years.
“Gabe Stangel is another top candidate for most improved. He has become one of the most important golfers on the team, and started off our 2022 fall season with a personal best 18-hole score at the SCAL preview (93).”
Houston will likely continue to be one of the SCAL’s better programs. The program has enough golfers for two junior varsity teams this year . The squad’s lone JV team last year posted a 23-0 record.
Botkins returns two golfers from last year’s squad, which earned the program’s first-ever state berth and its first SCAL title in nearly 30 years. The squad also won sectional and district championships.
Several newcomers will look to contribute after four golfers graduated from last year’s squad. Brett Meyer, who enters his 28th year as coach, said the newcomers‘ development will be key to the squad’s competitiveness.
Junior JJ Meyer and sophomore Ross Dietz are the program’s two returnees. Dietz was second team all-SCAL last year and had a 40 nine-hole average. Meyer had a 41 average.
The two have been off to strong starts this year. Meyer shot a 70 in the SCAL preview on Monday while Dietz shot 74. They finished second and third overall behind Fort Loramie’s Adam Ballas.
Key newcomers include senior Lydia Dietz, who joins the boys team after competing on the girls squad last year. Meyer said she should be a solid contributor as the No. 3 golfer.
Sophomore Matthew Okuley and freshmen Carson Heuker, Elijah Schuller and Adrien Krouskop are key newcomers, and Meyer said they’ll rotate among the No. 4, 5 and 6 spots.
“Our goal is for the younger players to get better every match and learn from the experienced golfers,” Meyer said. “The league will be very competitive this year. Fort Loramie, Russia and Houston have already proven they are the teams to beat.”
The Tigers are looking to be competitive this year with four letterwinners returning from last year, when the squad tied for fourth place in the SCAL.
Senior Nolan Fark, junior Lucas Hartle and sophomores Reed Platfoot and Blake Noble are the team’s returnees.
“Last year gave us some valued experience for a lot of our returning golfers and we hope that pays dividends this year,” third-year coach Aaron Klopfenstein said.
“Nolan Fark starting playing some really good golf towards the end of last year and we anticipate him picking up where he left off. …As a freshman last year, Reed Platfoot was very consistent on a nightly basis. He has put in some work this summer and we will be relying on him to be a serious contributor.
“Last season, Lucas Hartle and Blake Noble both showed they are capable of having big nights. With the added experience of last year, we hope to see their scores stay even more consistent this year.”
Key newcomers include sophomore Jackson Davis and senior Evan York.
“Jackson Davis has had as good as a summer as anyone on our squad and has put in some time to improve his golf game. He was a solid contributor on the JV squad last year, and now we are looking for him to play a serious role on our varsity squad.
“Rounding out our squad is Evan York. This is Evan’s first year on the golf team, but you would not recognize this if you go out and watch him. He looks very comfortable on the golf course.
“… I am very excited to see how this team develops and improves over the first couple weeks of the season.”
Klopfenstein said it should be another strong year for SCAL teams, with Fort Loramie, Russia, Houston and Botkins having a lot of strong returnees.
The Rockets will look to stay competitive this year with three returning letterwinners, but the development of three newcomers will be key to the squad’s competitiveness according to 12th-year coach Brandon Cobb.
Seniors Landon Cobb and Ethan Maurer return, as well as junior Seth Hegemier.
“Landon and Maurer both have played three years of varsity, so I need them to settle into their roles and lead this year,” Brandon Cobb said. “Seth Hegemier is a junior and returns as a two-year letterman and a district qualifier from last year. Seth is our most experienced player when looking at his summer resume, so I fully expect him to play solid golf this season.”
Key newcomers include senior Isaac Klinker, junior Troy Zimpher and freshman Josiah Richards.
“We need some help from the new additions,” Cobb said. “They have to get comfortable in their roles and figure out how to make adjustments throughout the season.”
The Jets will look to be competitive with three returnees this year.
Seniors Seth Jones and Ethan Jones return along with junior Aaron Maddy. Seth Jones led the squad with an 87 in the SCAL preview on Monday.
Sophomores Joe Bernardi and Kavin Wiley round out the roster along with freshman Maddox Abke.
Todd Heckman returns as the program’s coach.
The Cavaliers will look for improvement after finishing sixth out of eight squads in the inaugural season of the Three Rivers Conference.
The team has all but one golfer back from last season. Senior Hezekiah Bezy returns along with juniors Noel Petersen and junior Nick Wright. Sophomores Brian Baumann and Isabel Flores will compete for the No. 5 spot.
Petersen is the squad’s top returnee and was a district qualifier last year. He was a first team all-TRC selection last year after posing a 43.6 nine-hole average. He shot an 81 in the TRC tournament and finished in first place.
Freshmen newcomers Henry Petersen and O’keefe Cooper will round out the squad. Henry Petersen is expected to be a strong contributor.
“This is is the second year for the Three Rivers Conference and the other teams should provide strong competition for us this year,” assistant coach Joe Petersen said. “We expect to be competitive as a team in all matches.”
Eric Harlamert returns as the program’s head coach.
Riverside is expecting to stay competitive with four letterwinners returning from last year, when the squad finished as runner-up in the inaugural season of Three Rivers Conference play.
But the squad lost four strong golfers, and coach Andy Phelps said development will be needed.
“This year’s group of boys are mixed with experience,” Phelps said. “My four returners have a lot of golf experience and have been playing well this summer. My other four golfers are ﬁrst-year golfers and keep getting better and better every day.
“We are working very hard at our short game. Many matches are lost by missed putts or bag chips. The boys have played a lot of golf this summer and we should be competitive in every match.”
Senior Drew Jones returns as well as juniors Reece Jenkins and Gavin Robinson and sophomore Jaxon Woods. Jones had a 45.8 nine-hole average last year and was a second team all-TRC selection, along with Woods, who had a 47.8 average.
“My top four returners are very competitive and just want to get better,” Phelps said. “As a coach, you can’t ask for much more. They are always playing extra rounds, going out on the weekends to try and become better golfers. They have done a great job with our newcomers and teaching them the game of golf.”
Key newcomers include sophomores Ayden Clary and Carter Kreglow and freshmen Hayden McCully and Hayden Sanford.
Phelps said Covington is the favorite in the TRC and Milton-Union and Bethel also have strong returnees.
“If we can play well, we have a shot of being towards the top of the league,” Phelps said.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.