MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon golf team’s world is a little upside down this year.
After years of being led by talented seniors, this fall’s team does not have a single senior. But, that doesn’t mean the cupboard is bare — just not as experienced.
“We’re real young — no seniors. This year will be a building year, but we still expect to do well,” said Mount Vernon coach Mike Fuller.
The Yellow Jackets will look to four juniors and three sophomores to keep the team near the top of the Ohio Capital Conference and Central District. Juniors Chase Springer, Justin Fairchild, Nick Hoar and Austin Blanton will be counted on for solid play, as well as leadership on a young team.
Add in sophomores Adam O’Hara, Luke Earnest and Robert Williams and the Jackets have a good bit of talent.
“We’ve got good quality kids — top to bottom. They’re very conscientious, work hard and have good sportsmanship — all qualities you like to see in student-athletes,” said Fuller. “The quality of our kids is very high. Now, we’ll try to catch our golf games up with that.”
With no standout on this year’s squad, Fuller will be looking for good quality scores up and down the lineup.
Fuller believes the team has put in the work this summer getting ready for the quality of competition they will face in the central district. The players have all played in tournaments around central Ohio and put in the practice time early in the mornings at area courses. Now, it’s just a matter of putting it all together in varsity competition.
“It’s real important everyone be consistent. We don’t have the one player that can go really low, so everybody has to bring their scores down a couple of shots. If we can average between 77 and 82, we’ll be OK,” Fuller said. “We’ve played a lot of competitive golf this summer, so they know what to expect. We expect to struggle a bit early, but we know we’ve got to get better each week and try to peak at the end of the season.”
One major concern early on will be the fact the Jackets will be without the services of O’Hara, who was all-OCC last year as a freshman, for the first three weeks. O’Hara injured his wrist and won’t be able to pick up a club for a while.
“That’s a big loss. Hopefully, we can hang on until we get Adam back. We’ll try to get him in some before sectional and districts. I feel bad for him; he’s worked his tail off this summer,” Fuller said. “It’ll be tougher without Adam, but we’ve got some others who can step up.”
The Jackets will open the season Monday as host of the Mount Vernon Country Club Classic.
One area team set to make some noise in the central district is Danville.
The Blue Devils will be led once again by Mid-Buckeye Conference Player of the Year Nate Zeune. The senior averaged 40 for nine holes a year ago as he was also named second team all-central district.
Add to that mix senior Dakota Caynor and junior Jordan Frank and the Blue Devils will have three of the top golfers in the area.