After an outstanding spring season in 2006, the 2006-07 edition of the Wittenberg men's golf team may be ready to take another step forward. Last year, the Tigers finished third in the tough North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), one of their best finishes ever.
The Tigers return their top player from a year ago in sophomore Garrett Smith (Powell, Ohio/Worthington Christian), who had a team-best stroke average of 77.4 in his first season with the Red and White. At the conclusion of the season, Smith earned first-team All-NCAC honors after placing third in the conference championship tournament. He was one of just two freshmen to make the first team.
Smith will lead the way, but the team also returns three other top players in sophomores Dan Buchan (Dublin, Ohio/Worthington Christian), Jeff Hochstetler (Plain City, Ohio/Jonathan Alder) and Chad Summe (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle), all of whom have steadily improved their stroke averages. Following a stellar fall 2006 campaign, Hochstetler's average was 78.7 and Summe's was 78.8.
Much like the 2006 team, this team is very young, with no upperclassmen on the roster. Nathan Deming (Freeland, Mich./Freeland) rounds out the sophomore class, with nine freshmen, led by Jimmy Morris (Granville, Ohio/Granville), making up the rest of the team. Still, Head Coach Garnett Purnell is optimistic about the possibility that this year's squad could be even more successful than the 2006 edition. The fall 2006 campaign wrapped up with a second-place finish in the Denison Invitational, hopefully providing a springboard for a strong spring.
Instead of Red & White, perhaps the appropriate color for the 2006-07 Wittenberg women's golf team would be green. With no upperclassmen and just two sophomores, the Tigers have already thrown four freshmen into the competitive fires of collegiate golf.
The good news is that the team's performance during the fall 2006 season is reason for optimism.
Head Coach Pat Clouse hopes to mold this young group into a winner, with leadership responsibilities falling to her two returning letterwinners, sophomores Jennifer Petro (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart) and Colleen Stephens (Lexington, Ky./Dunbar). Last year, Petro had a stroke average of 91.1, while Stephens was a key player for the Tigers as well. Petro shot an 84 during a tournament at Muskingum to establish the new school standard for a round since the return of women's golf as a varsity sport in 2003.
Looking to make an immediate impact are freshmen Amanda Delagrange (Akron, Ohio/Firestone), Kelly Grogan (Columbus, Ohio/Bexley), Kristina Herman (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills), and Kimberleigh McClure (Dublin, Ohio/Scioto), all of whom enjoyed successful prep careers and showed flashes of strong play during the fall campaign.