The Press Newspaper
Pretty much everyone made Woodmore’s boys golf team the overwhelming pick to defend its Northern Buckeye Conference championship in 2012.
Coach Steve Burner’s team did just that, winning its third straight league title if you count the Suburban Lakes League championship it won in 2010. The Wildcats, however, graduated four of their top golfers from a year ago and will field a young and inexperienced lineup this fall.
“I’ve had two real good golfers (the last four years),” Burner said. “Now it’s a matter of how my seniors respond when we get going. Playing jayvee and varsity are two different things. Hopefully they respond real quick. If they do, we should be right up there in the thick of it. All I’ll tell them is, we can do it but we have to work at it.”
Gone from last year’s team are NBC Player of the Year runner-up Ty Burner, who is now playing at the University of Tiffin, and Mikayla Baer, a girls state tournament veteran who will golf at Bowling Green State University.
Woodmore also must look for replacements for the graduated Matt Zatko, who is going to Ohio State and may try to play golf, and Paul Makulinski, who will play at Lourdes College. Burner, Baer, Zatko and sophomore Alex Gedert all earned first-team All-NBC honors last season. Zatko finished third in the conference player of the year standings.
Senior Devin Fisher, who earned second-team All-NBC honors last year, will lead the ‘Cats into their season-opening tournament Aug. 12 in Clyde.
“Devin has been playing lot of the big tournaments,” coach Burner said. “He just had a big one at Purdue University. He has been out and about and doing pretty well. He has placed second in a couple tournaments around the area. As far as the mental aspect of it and the maturity level, I think he’s going to be much better. He’s going to have to be. He’s going to have to be my leader this year. He’s the one who’s been with me the longest.”
Gedert, now a junior, has won three Lake Erie Junior Golf Association tournaments this summer, according to Burner, and will also be counted on for leadership and low scoring.
“Alex has been playing really well this summer,” Burner said. “He’s been steady, shooting in the 70s. He and Devin are going to have to do a lot of talking with the other kids coming in who have played JV about playing a varsity match.”
Two seniors, Matt Hartford and Connor Witt, have played on Woodmore’s JV squad for three years and will step up to the varsity level.
“I’m expecting big things out of Matt,” Burner said. “I’m looking for him to jump up on the varsity level. Connor doesn’t really play in tournaments in the summer, but he and Matt play on local courses in the offseason.”
Jake Greenhill, a junior, has played on the JV team the last two years and should be ready to make the jump to the varsity, Burner said.
“Now, it’s his time,” the coach said, adding that sophomore Miles DeStazio has potential.
“He didn’t start on our golf team as a freshman,” Burner said. “He practiced and we watched him play, and we expect some good things with him. Experience is going to be a big thing with him.”
The Wildcats will try to get their seven incoming freshmen lots of experience this fall.
“Having seven freshmen, that’s a good thing for years to come,” Burner said. “For right now, the seven I have are going to be down on that JV level, hopefully getting ready for next year. They’re players, but just not players who have played a lot. There will be a lot of teaching going on.”
Burner said Eastwood is the “big-time favorite” to win the NBC title this season, due to the fact the Eagles return NBC Player of the Year Steven Bruning along with Kyle Warnick.
“I think the NBC will be top-heavy,” Burner said. “Eastwood will have two or three good golfers, and Rossford will have five guys who will shoot the same. Lake is always there. They have guys playing in the summer time. Terry (Tansel) has a winter program with them and has the program going pretty good.”