Eagle men’s golf team ready to prove themselves in spring season

Nate Powalie, Sports Columnist

While some high schools and PGA golfers have returned to the links, the AU men’s team is still waiting to get themselves on the course.

Due to the pandemic, all GLIAC sports were suspended until Jan. 2021, but that has not held Ashland back from practicing. In a “normal” season, how a golfer does in the fall determines how the spring roster will shake out.

After ending last fall with a win at the Davenport Invitational, the spring got cut short due to COVID-19, with the Eagles taking a third-place finish at the Saddlebrook Spring Kickoff in Wesley Chapel, Florida. This was the first event after current coach Dennis North was also named the Director of Operations for the team.

While the team may not have Patrick Steffen (he was a senior last school year), the Eagles return almost all of their roster from the previous season, including all-GLIAC representative Ben Jones and Andrew Kolar. 

As AU is getting ready for a new season to start, Coach North is excited to get his team ready for the road ahead.

“The biggest thing I’m looking for is just to get the guys on the road, we have a lot of depth on this team. Our main goal this year is to get to the NCAA regional,” he said.

Along with Jones, the Eagles will have two expected seniors on their roster, with the second being Hunter Lowder. A majority of the young core also returns, with familiar faces such as Brent Dillon,  Andrew Kolar, Logan Thomas, Nick Stehle, and Caden Gallagher.

AU also had 119 student-athletes rack up D-II ADA (Division Two Athletics Directors Association) Academic Achievement Awards, two in the men’s golf category going to Dillon and Jones.

As the team is preparing themselves for the spring season, there are weekly competitions that will be held to determine who plays in the spring, according to Coach North.

“We are competing amongst ourselves in fall qualifiers, held mainly every Sunday. Those qualifiers will help us to determine who will travel with us on the roster in the spring,” he said.

As Coach North prepares to begin his third season at the helm of the AU men’s golf team, he feels a little extra pressure to bring himself and his team back to the success they had in the 2018-19 season, when they finished runner-up in the GLIAC championship to Ferris State.

While the pandemic may have hit college sports the hardest, there is extra motivation to perform well come spring semester. For the AU Men’s Golf Team, the pressure to succeed is nothing new, but they have shown that they are ready.