Few sports have to go through the rigors of a year-long season. Washburn’s men’s golf team is one of those teams that don’t have the luxury of an offseason.
While teams still practice and workout they don’t always have to be on their “A” game, while the Ichabod golfers have to be ready to tee off against competition at all times. With much of their season already behind them, the spring portion of their schedule seems promising.
After losing much of their team to graduation last year, Washburn was in dire need for somebody to fill the void for first year head coach Jeff Stromgren. Sam Schulte, a senior golfer for Washburn, stepped up right off the bat with a first place finish in the Pittsburg State Invitational, the Ichabod’s first event of the season. Washburn snagged the win, beating out 12 teams at PSU. Not a bad start for Stromgren, a Washburn graduate, who the Ichabods love.
“I absolutely love him,” said Schulte . “I think he is very strict and how he needs. He’s there a lot and helps out a lot.”
Washburn went on to place eighth at the Brickyard Crossing Intercollegiate Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., and second in the NSU Men’s Invitational in Tahleguah, Okla. Schulte began to falter a little bit, but the rest of the Bods picked up the slack. Freshmen Trey Siegel and Ronnie McHenry have been outstanding for the Ichabods. Siegel has finished in the top ten four out of the six events this fall while McHenry’s consistency has helped the Bods finish in the top half of most of their events.
“I think a lot of younger guys stepped up and a couple of us guys who returned kind of know the ropes and are able to lead them,” said Schulte.
Washburn used some of their momentum from their second place finish, finishing fifth at the Lindewood Invitational and third at the Missouri Western Regional Invitational, both were conference events. This time senior Nathan Hoefflin was the Bod in charge, leading the Ichabods with a seventh place finish at the Missouri Western Regional Invitational. Hoefflin and Schulte have become the leaders for a young WU squad, something they have embraced.
“Golf’s one of those sports where a lot of it’s individual,” said Schulte. “A lot of time is spent by yourself out on the practice range. I just try to lead by example. If I’m out there [on the range] I expect everybody to be out there just as long.”
Seeing the Ichabods in person will be tough since Washburn is not hosting an invitational this year.
“I definitely looked forward to it last year but at the same time I’m not going to complain about going to Indianapolis and California,” said Schulte.
To gear up for competition the Ichabod golfers have been hitting the weight room harder this year. They have mandatory workouts three times a week to help keep them healthy during a long break. Washburn doesn’t hit the green again until March where they will travel to La Jolla, Calif., for the SoCal Intercollegiate Championships.