Men’s Golf Looks to Follow Up Impressive Season with Another Birth at National Championship
Written by Victor Cascio on September 14, 2021
After an impressive ending to last season, the Kansas Wesleyan Men’s Golf team looks to pick right back up where they left off at the end of last Spring, where they competed at the national championship and finished in 16th place. In an effort to continue making improvements to maximize their chances of making another appearance at nationals this year, the team is doing all it can to get the year started off in the right direction during the pre-season.
“Most days we’ll go out and play 18 holes, and Coach will set the challenge for the day for what our goals should be and what we should be doing on the golf course,” says senior and Business major Trevor Oberg, who hails from McCook, Nebraska. In addition to practice, the team is also holding workouts twice a week in an effort to increase core strength, develop endurance, and maximize flexibility.
However, despite the tenacious work ethic the team has displayed over the past couple of weeks, there are obstacles that the Coyotes golf team faces this year as the result of player turnover: 7 players from last year’s roster are no longer with the team, along with the addition of 5 freshmen. Says Oberg, “When you lose guys like Troy Watson (former 1st team All-American) and Logan Vacca (former top-30 nationally ranked player), along with a few other guys, they’ll be tough to replace, but it’s a next-man-up mentality. Guys that were a little more raw last year need to step up and be prepared to win. In order to win we’re just going to have to be a tough team.”
Although this year’s roster features a significantly different group of players compared to last year, team captain fifth-year senior, and Coffeyville, KS native Cameron Becker (Business Management) remains optimistic. He has seen several different behaviors exhibited by team members that lead him to believe that the Coyotes can find themselves right back in the middle of another deep playoff run this year. “I’ve already noticed that both returning players and new players are out at the course early and hitting balls on their own time and putting in really good work. I think that’s an important key to success: that everyone has full commitment and doesn’t just practice in the three hour window we have as a team everyday but actually goes out there by themselves to work on what they need to work on.”
3rd year head coach Coleman Houk also has a similar vision for how he would like this season to play out, but also notes that he hopes to see dramatic improvement in each unit individually as the year progresses. “The number one goal is to win the conference as a team. On an individual level, we hope every player drops anywhere from 2-4 strokes from the start of Fall to the end of Spring. My vision is that with how young our team is, we can develop both as a whole, but also as individually and continue to build on the successful culture we have created at KWU and with our golf program.”
Providing this vision for his team, Coach Houk also gives an idea of what his players can expect this year if they wish to fulfill their desire to remain one of the top men’s golf programs in the NAIA division. “We will be the busiest team on campus, and you will be tired. Continue to grind and stay committed, and I promise that you will accomplish your goals.”
The Kansas Wesleyan Men’s Golf Team begins its season on August 30th and 31st at the UC Ferguson Classic at Lincoln Park Golf Course in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. From there, they will face 8 weeks of tournament play in the Fall, followed by the second half of the season in the Spring, with the conference tournament scheduled for the end of the Spring season. If the Coyotes are successful in accomplishing their goal of winning their conference, they will find themselves right back at nationals this upcoming May.