A lot of positives on horizon for golfers
Now that the calendar has dipped into November, the Whitehall golf team is able to reflect on the past as well as prepare for the future.
The past was a season filled with hope as they had the biggest turnout of athletes under second-year coach John Conrad. They fielded 14 golfers and were excited about their prospects. Once the season got underway, they faced the reality of playing in a new league with a lot of established programs that left them without a win in 2014.
Still, Conrad sees a lot of positives on the horizon as he gets the opportunity to mold the returning golfers. They'll return six lettermen, three from the sophomore class and three from the freshman class.
Those numbers make a strong foundation which will help them get stronger in their second season competing in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
"It gives us hope in the off-season to work hard and look ahead to next season," said Conrad.
Conrad said that he realizes golf's a sport that requires diligence in attracting young athletes. With a small school like Whitehall, the pie is smaller when competing against the other fall sports for numbers. Still, he believes they have the ability to continue to grow as he heads into his third season guiding the program.
The Zephs will lose their No. 1 and No. 2 players to graduation. Patrick Glasgow, a four-year veteran, and Thomas Baker, a newcomer this season, provided inspiration and leadership this year. Glasgow was the team's representative at the District XI tournament, finishing tied for 49th with a 101.
Helping to fill that void will be junior Chase Hutterer who was their No. 5 player this season. He'll be the lone senior on a team that will have another year of experience, consisting of those six letter winners. That list includes sophomores Noah Zahradnik, the No. 6 golfer from last year, Patrick Rivers and Ethan Meshach. They'll be joined by freshmen Patrick Skinner, their No. 3 player from last season, Ben Antonchak who occupied the No. 4 slot and Tyler Ringenberger.
Additionally, the Zephs will return Jack Pastir, Rockie Scarl and Griffin Wampole.
That's a strong corps of golfers, and Conrad believes that can have success in they work hard in the off-season and prepare, especially since they've seen what it takes to be successful in the EPC.
"This year they got a chance to see how good you can really be," said Conrad. "They know it's going to take some work to get there."
Conrad said he'll also "look to recruit" a lot of eighth graders to help make the program stronger.
Conrad said the program can be enhanced by investing in some indoor equipment, something he hopes to accomplish through fundraisers.
He also said their association with Willow Brook Golf Course was extremely beneficial. They opened their doors to the team, providing lessons and support throughout the year.
"They made it very user-friendly for our kids," Conrad said.
While 2014 didn't provide the results they hoped for, they still can use the experience to provide a strong foundation.
"It's not where we wanted to be, but it's something to build upon," said Conrad. "They got better as they year went along, and they have the itch to get better next season."