Bulldog golf: 2013-14 season preview

Bulldog golf: 2013-14 season preview

MEN
Head Coach: Brett Muller (third year)
2012-13 GPAC Finish: 10th (338-335-325-319–1,317)
Key Returners: Brock Colclasure (So.); Sam DeFreece (Sr.); Sam Mayhall (Jr.); Shawn Rodehorst (Jr.); Sam Simonson (So.); Garrett Suchanek (So.)
Key Newcomers: Court Croghan, Josh Hinrichs, Jared Knoepfel
2012 GPAC All-Conference: Shawn Rodehorst (8th – 82-78-72-70–302)

WOMEN
Head Coach: Brett Muller (third year)
2012-13 GPAC Finish: 11th (415-392-398-401–1,606)
Key Returners: Gretyl Bremmer (So.); Jenelle Hallaert (Jr.); Melissa McIntosh (Jr.); Allison Schieffer (Jr.)
Key Losses: Makenzie Deutschman, Chelsea Peck, Madison Phillips
Key Newcomer: Amy Ahlers

Outlook:
Coming off significant improvement this past spring, the Bulldog golf programs see plenty of reason for optimism heading into the 2013-14 campaign under third-year head coach Brett Muller. The men will lean upon a host of returners, led by all-conference performer Shawn Rodehorst, while the women hope for a boost from incoming Boone Central High School product Amy Ahlers.

Despite finishes near the bottom of the GPAC last season, Muller believes things are beginning to come together for both programs.

“Obviously we just want to improve every year and be more consistent,” Muller said. “I’ve really seen a change in culture with Bulldog golf since I’ve been here. People are a lot more committed to the program and want to put in the extra time and get better. We just need to give 110 percent every practice and start taking strides forward.”

The obvious commitment of Rodehorst, a junior from Kearney, Neb., has set the standard for Concordia golf, literally. The business administration major broke school records last season for lowest season average (75.15 – 13 rounds), lowest two-round score at a single meet (71-73–144; Blue River Invite) and best GPAC qualifier finish (eighth), while becoming the first Bulldog to ever win the Blue River Invite.

With a laser-like mental focus and a golf game still on the rise, Rodehorst appears to be a contender for GPAC medalist honors as he begins the second half of his Concordia career.

“I don’t know if it’s an expectation (to win a GPAC individual title), but it’s something that I’d like to do,” Rodehorst said after the spring. “I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to do it. Just because I played well this spring doesn’t mean anything for the future. Yeah it gives you confidence and momentum, but at the same time it’s still just one shot a time and playing the best you can. After each round I do that, I’ll be happy no matter what.”

Backing Rodehorst is a group that entered last season an inexperienced bunch. Senior Sam DeFreece (84.09 average) and sophomore Sam Simonson (84.69) have the inside track on the second and third slots in the varsity lineup after competing in a combined 24 meets in 2012-13. DeFreece placed 32nd on the GPAC leaderboard, while Simonson tied for 34th.

The rest of the returning top six includes sophomore Brock Colclasure (87.33), junior Sam Mayhall (86.33) and sophomore Garrett Suchanek (87.00). They will be pushed by incoming freshmen such as Court Croghan (Seward, Neb.), Josh Hinrichs (Hastings, Neb.) and Jared Knoepfel (Fremont, Neb.).

“We have the top six on the men’s side coming back and then add some newcomers into that so I expect practices to be very competitive to see who the top five are,” Muller said. “The biggest thing I’m looking for going into the fall season is consistency and we need those guys to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.”

Clearly the Bulldog men are further along than they were at this point a year ago. With one of the conference’s elite golfers to go with a deeper, more experienced group, expectations will be higher this time around.

“I’m pretty excited, pretty optimistic,” Muller said. “Our goal is definitely to finish in the top half of our conference. It’s about getting off to a good start. Last year we kind of dug ourselves too big of a hole at the first two qualifiers with being so young and having a couple tough rounds at the qualifiers, but we played much better second semester. We’ve just got to come out and be ready to play right away.”

The Bulldog women were hit much harder in the offseason with the graduation of Makenzie Deutschman, Chelsea Peck and Madison Phillips. Both Deutschman and Peck garnered all-conference recognition in 2011-12 and were mainstays at the top of the varsity lineup. Says Muller, “All three seniors will definitely be missed.”

In other words, it’s time for juniors Jenelle Hallaert (104.91), Melissa McIntosh (100.58) and Allison Schieffer (109.5) to step up their games. Both Hallaert and McIntosh improved their averages during the second semester and appear primed for better in 2013-14.

“Janelle and Melissa have played every varsity match since they’ve been here so I’m excited to see the strides they’ve made,” Muller said. “Then Ali really came on last year. We also have (sophomore) Gretyl Bremmer, who will be in her second season with us. She played in one match last year and really improved. We have a good core of girls here.”

However, it could be freshman Amy Ahlers, a Boone Central High School product, who emerges as the team’s top golfer on the women’s side. She comes to Concordia with impressive high school credentials.

“I’m excited to see what she can do for us,” Muller said. “She actually medaled all four years of her high school career at state. She’s a three-time team champion. She had a great summer. She tied for third in the Nebraska girl’s amateur tournament, shooting 76-77. She will definitely be someone we expect to come in right away and make a push for all-conference.”

Muller thinks Ahlers, an Albion, Neb., native, can consistently card scores of 80 or lower and hopes that the rest of the varsity lineup falls in line not too far behind.

“Chelsea and Makenzie will be hard to replace,” Muller said. “They were just pretty steady, solid golfers. We just need some other girls to step up. Obviously having Amy probably golfing in our one spot will help. If we can get her around 80 or better that will be great and just have the others be consistent.”

The Rodehorst-led Bulldog men will get the season started at the Siouxland Invite, which begins Thursday and ends on Friday. The women begin Friday at the Morningside Invite.

2 September 2013

Shawn Rodehorst

Melissa McIntosh