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Muskingum golf teams ready for action

Published: April 4, 2010 12:04 AM

Ron MillerThe Daily JeffersonianNEW CONCORD -- It will be a somewhat inexperienced team that eighth-year Muskingum University men's golf coach Dave Kirby brings to the links this season while the Lady Muskie golfers hope to be more competitive this year.Kirby returns four lettermen from last year's squad that finished third at the Ohio Athletic Conference championships, but will be without one of them, sophomore Jourdon Leymon, due to his studying abroad in Spain this spring semester.Senior Josh Colyer (Zanesville-Tri-Valley), junior J.J. Mickey (Somerset-Sheridan) and sophomore Joel Ardner (Tiffin-Calvert) are the letterwinners that are back to compete this spring.Colyer is a four-year letterman that has really come on strong after his sophomore season and was ranked in the top 10 in the country in some categories last spring. Mickey was an all-OAC performer last year and finished fourth individually in the conference championships, while Ardner won the Ohio Northern tournament last spring earning him OAC Player of the Week honors."Colyer had a break-out season last year," Kirby points out, "and I am expecting him to be one of the top guys in the conference this year. His junior year was his best year at Muskingum and I hope he can repeat this year. Both I and he are expecting big things from Mickey. He has a lot of ability and potential and led us in scoring last spring with about a 75 average. He will have to help buffer the loss of Leymon this spring."His success at the Ohio Northern Tournament last year was a springboard for Ardner into this year," he added. "He has made huge strides from last spring and has a stranglehold on his position right now. He will be a big contributor to what we accomplish this spring. The big question is who the other two are going to be."Of the remaining six people on the roster, only a couple have any varsity experience at all. Junior Joey Garrett (Coshocton) and sophomore Joey Shroyer (Nashport-Tri-Valley) got a little varsity experience last spring and junior David Snider (Coshocton) played in one varsity match a year ago."These are the most experienced young players that we have," Kirby pointed out. "Garrett and Snider are not completely green. We have to find out from within who are going to be a fourth and fifth players. We have some time to find that out and it may be by committee at the beginning of the season."Seniors Erik Nesbit (Lorain-Admiral King) and Ryan Sopko (Parma-Valley Forge) and sophomore Nicholas Kull (Millersport-Liberty Union) round out the roster."Nesbit and Sopko have come up through the program," Kirby said, "and are playing pretty good golf right now. Past our top three, we will be pretty inexperienced. Some gained experience last year when we had players hurt or had to miss and we gained a little experience in the fall "non-traditional" season and that has been beneficial for us. They were reserve players for a reason and when they got the chance to play, they went out and played."We still have three of our top four players back," he added, "and we have six guys battling for the other two spots. A month from now is when we need to be playing at our best. We have some young guys that have been close to playing varsity and they are going to be there now. It is a process for us."With just five players on the roster, second-year Muskingum women's golf coach Seth Martin will not have a problem deciding who is going to play in matches this spring.Martin returns a pair of letterwinners from last year's squad that finished ninth in the OAC, led by senior Rebecca Cross (Uniontown-Lake) and junior Leigh Ann Porter (Marysville). The other three candidates are all freshmen and will be seeing the first action of their collegiate careers."I look for Becky (Cross) to have a strong season this year," Martin said. "Porter is a power hitter and is working on her short game at the present time. The three freshmen have been a great addition to the team and all of them played high school golf."The season will be all based on how the freshmen score, which I know will be better than we did last year," he added, "but it will also depend on how much the other schools in the conference have improved."The three freshmen recruits are Caitlin Benner (Beavercreek), Megan Beany (Marysville) and Elizabeth Hrach (Columbus-Bishop Watterson)."Hrach is our best golfer," Martin admitted. "She had a decent fall season and was shooting in the 80s, but I believe she could get her score down into the 70s. Cross will still be our No. 1 golfer due to her experience and she has been consistent over the past two years. Porter will play in the second spot with her experience. All the freshmen shot well in the fall "non-traditional" season and I look for us to be more competitive this spring. I am seeing improvement and the freshmen have made the upperclassmen want to do better."The Lady Muskies open the season April 9-10 at the Capital University Purple and White Invitational.

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