Although the Marquette Academy golf team has only had a few practices so far in 2019, coach Mark Vickroy says he has seen a lot of improvement across the board from a year ago from his squad.
Vickroy has 10 boys (two seniors, four juniors, four sophomores) and a pair of girls (a sophomore and a freshman) on his roster this year and feels many have the qualities that could translate into a deep trip into the postseason.
"Obviously, one of my goals for this group would be to see a few of them advance to sectionals and beyond," said Vickroy. "I do see a very good possibility of that happening.
"Golf is such an individual sport, and to be successful it takes the ability to relax and then turn it on when you have to. I think we have a number of individuals that have that talent, along with the physical part of the game. So hopefully we can progress during the season to see a few of the kids reach those goals."
Returning to lead the Crusaders is senior Sean Kissel. Kissel was a sectional qualifier in 2018 and is a two-time Times Golf Honor Roll selection.
"I'm going to be leaning on Sean being the leader of the team again this season. ... He's a senior, and I'm expecting a lot from him," Vickroy said. "He just missed getting out of sectionals and advancing to state last year."
Classmate Gabe Malosh is also back, as well as juniors Grant Waldron, Nathan Scherer, Racer Schmeckpeper, Nick Denton; sophomores Maclane Rinearson, Cody Ewers, Nick Graham; as well as sophomore newcomer Hayden McKenna.
"I'm expecting Gabe to continue to improve his game as the season goes along," Vickroy said. "He worked hard in the summer, and he has the capability to be a strong golfer if we can just get him to stay focused each time out."
The two ladies on squad are sophomore Kaitlyn McGoonaugh and freshman Abbey Thumm, with the former playing solid golf as a ninth-grader, including coming up a swing short of a sectional berth.
"With Kaitlyn playing on a boys team, I think it gives her an added level competition-wise and pushes her to continue to get better," said Vickroy. "She just just missed advancing to sectionals by a single stroke last fall, so I'm hoping that will be an added motivation for her. She went to a camp at the University of Illinois this summer, and she was able to pick up a few tips that she will hopefully be able to use heading into this season."
Marquette opens the season next Monday, Aug. 19, at the Midland Invite hosted by Lacon Country Club.