This spring, men’s golf looks to vanquish its narrow defeat in the 2014 NESCAC Championship by one stroke to Middlebury, which prevented the men from returning to the NCAA Div. III Championship. The Ephs return to the course after an up-and-down fall season marked by inconsistent team play but impressive individual performances.
In the fall, high notes included second-place team finishes at both the Williams Invitational and ECAC Championships. The men also grabbed third at the all-important Fall NESCAC Qualifier in which the top four teams qualify for the Spring Championship, where the winner advances to NCAAs.
While failing to claim any team victories was disappointing for the Ephs, individual play was extremely encouraging for the upcoming spring season. In particular, Grant Raffel ’17 took back-to-back medalist honors at the NESCAC Qualifier and ECACs with stellar play, firing 75-70 and 76-75, respectively and earning NESCAC Player of the Year honors in the process. In addition, Ross Hoffman ’17 posted two top-five finishes at the Williams Invitational and ECACs.
The Ephs are extremely deep and will look to co-captain Jake Goldenring ’15 and co-captain Nate McCue ’15 for senior leadership and solid play after the fall season. In addition, Raffel and Hoffman headline the underclassmen that consistently push the team toward success. Max Elgart ’16, Tony Liu’16, Greg Stone ’16, Michael Stone ’16 and Jacob Watt-Morse ’15 also look to fight for spots in the line-up.
The men have had a busy off-season, upping their workout and training regiment to better prepare for the upcoming spring season. With consistent trips to the weight room, the nets in Upper Lasell, the simulators in North Adams and the outdoor driving range in Troy, the team feels more prepared than ever before its annual spring training trip to Port St. Lucie, Fla.
On the trip, the men look to continue to get back into form as they take on Northeast foes Middlebury, RPI and Wesleyan in a quad-match next Wednesday. Upon returning from Port. St. Lucie, the men will travel to the Rhody Invitational, which will be hosted by the University of Rhode Island from April 3 to 4, if course conditions permit.
The month of April will be extremely busy for the men, who follow the Rhody Invite with a trip to the NYU Spring Invite before hosting the Williams NESCAC Spring Opener and traveling to Wesleyan for Little Three’s.
The spring season culminates in the NESCAC Championships from April 25 to 26 at Middlebury where the Ephs seek redemption and hope to earn an NCAA Div. III Championship berth.
The team is excited to head back onto the course this season. “Despite the awful weather, I actually think this is, by far, the most prepared myself and the team has felt going into spring break,” Goldenring said. “We met the first day of our spring season and had a frank discussion about what sort of effort was required by everyone in order to get us to the NCAA championship, namely a ton of effort.”
“It is no secret that we lost the NESCAC Championship to Middlebury last year by one shot, and I think it is the lingering sting of that loss that is driving us toward redemption this year,” Goldenring continued. “We are going to work even harder down in Florida over break, and I think I speak for everyone on the team when I say that we cannot wait to get the season started and to see all of our work pay off.”