The EMU Golf team is heading to their first ever ODAC Championship this weekend for the final tournament of the year.
In their first seasons as NCAA programs, both the men’s and women’s golf teams have had their reasonable share of ups and downs. The highs for the men, who boast an eight-player roster, include a 2nd place finish in the Lynchburg College Invitational to kick-start the spring season, their main season of competition. The lows include a last place finish at the Roanoke College Spring Collegiate the very next tournament.
The women, whose roster only claims two members, have not had much success in their first season, either. The bright spot would be First-Year Brittany McDonaldson, who has second and third place finishes on the year.
The push for a golf program came initially from students: most notably Senior Jon Leaman.
The club team was created for the 2010-2011 season and featured a five-man roster, with Jeremy Litwiller in place as head of the club. “I was pushing for an actual team since my freshmen year,” says Leaman. “Coming into my junior year after the initial club campaign, I saw that a [varsity] team was not going to happen, so I kind of gave up on the idea. It didn’t seem worth it to just be a club team and not have everyone practice each day. Then I received a call from [Athletic Director] Dave King and he told me we would be having a team the next year.”
It was easy enough to pull a team together due to the cheap budget and gender-equal nature of the sport. All that was left was filling coaching positions. Wendell Eberly, who coached the boy’s golf team at Eastern Mennonite High School last year, accepted the job offer from Dave King. Eberly is an EMU alum, as well as the former women’s basketball coach. Another familiar face also filled the assistant coaching position: Dave Johns, the pro at the Heritage Oaks golf course where the EMU squad calls home court, filled the gap.
“Wendell [Eberly] handles the administrative portion, while Dave Johns takes on the instruction,” explains Leaman.
The interesting thing about this team is that no one came here explicitly to play golf. Every member is simply a student who expressed interest and tried out for the team.
Next year will bring the first recruiting class to campus for the opportunity to showcase their talents representing EMU.
-Cutter Chisnell, Sports Editor