The nice weather outside is appreciated by all, but definitely by the John Carroll University golf teams, as they can finally get back outside to work on their game.
The men’s team will look to pick up right where they left off. Last fall they had an outstanding season that saw them claim four tournament titles.
“Our fall season was terrific, and honestly somewhat unexpected. We went into the season with four guys kind of solidified in our lineup and [sophomore] Jeff Deal emerged,” senior Dan Arison said of the fall season and Deal, who averaged 75 strokes per round.
It was that success that has put great expectations on the Blue Streaks. Coached by Mike Moran, JCU is currently ranked No. 17 in the country in the Golf World/NIKE Golf Division III coaches’ poll.
Still, with all the outside expectations, the highest expectations come from those that are actually on the team.
“We really feel like we are our greatest competition. We all work hard every day because we expect so much of ourselves,” Arison said, adding that he and his teammates put in about 20 hours of work towards their golf game each week.
Still, the Blue Streaks aren’t satisfied with simply having a good fall season. The team is working on their game for a shot at the Ohio Athletic Conference team title at the end of April.
“I would say that anything short of a conference championship would be considered a failure,” said Arison.
Their road to the conference title will resume this weekend when the Blue Streaks travel to Granville, Ohio to participate in Denison University’s Spring Invitational.
In the fall season, junior Blake Furgerson led the team with an average of 71.4 strokes per round while Arison was next with a 73.4 average.
There is little dropoff in terms of talent after the top three. Freshman Sam Scala, sophomore Ted Padezanin, junior A.J. Spalding and senior Kevin Bove also had averages of less than 76 strokes per round.
As for the women’s team, they got back into action this past weekend by placing fifth in the nine-team Mount Union Invitational.
Matt Lenhart, who doubles as the swimming and diving coach at JCU, has an experienced women’s team this spring.
That was shown this past weekend at the Mount Union Invitational when seniors Brittney Coder and Maura Reilly both led the charge by posting scores that placed them in the top-25.
Reilly and Coder finished first and second on the team, respectively, in the fall season. Reilly averaged 94.3 strokes per round while Coder was right behind her at 94.8 strokes per round.
The Blue Streaks’ seniors will try to step in and replace the void left by 2008 OAC champion Amanda Shannon, who graduated last spring.
It certainly won’t be easy to replace Shannon, but the senior experience on this team and the young talent that is sure to improve over the next month makes the JCU women’s golf team one to keep an eye on the rest of this season and into the OAC Championships.