Coach Steve Leary believes his Cayuga Community College golfers have the right mix of talent and experience for the team to reach the regional tournament in 2019.
The Spartans return only one golfer from the 2018 men's team, but feature an impressive array of first-year talent that could see them place several players in the regionals, said Leary, including the mandated five players to compete as a team.
"I believe we have the right combination, in our mental and physical approach to the game, to have most of our team reach regionals. That's the goal. Some of it will depend on the weather and how our new players transition to college golf," he said. "But we're excited to get started and to compete."
Lone returning Spartan and 2019 captain Ryan Chalupnicki finished the 2018 season on a high note, finishing 16th out of 45 players in the regional tournament. Leary called Chalupnicki a "grinder" whose strength is keeping a level head on the course.
"Golf is a very tough mental game. He's able to let each shot go, and not get too high or too low as the round plays out," said Leary. "That makes him effective on the course, and his experience will really help the rest of our team."
The remainder of the men's team is filled with first-year players showing the potential for strong seasons, including Hunter Hubel, who has an extensive tournament background. Along with Hubel, Christian Ryan, John Rice and Matt Micglire all come to Cayuga with considerable experience, said Leary, while fellow first-year player Cody Helmer has showed a solid game this spring.
This year's team also features Port Byron High School graduate EJ Townsend, who reached the state qualifiers in 2018 and was named the Auburn Citizen's 2018 Boys Golfer of the Year.
Leary said Jenna Fields, the lone member of Cayuga's women's golf team, has a strong game and should put together a good season. The first-year player out of Skaneateles High School will compete as an individual in tournaments this season.
"Jenna's distance off the tee is really impressive. She's got a solid golf game and a lot of potential for this season and the future," said Leary.
The Spartans are scheduled to hit the links in the Spartan Invitational at Highland Park Golf Club in Auburn on April 12. Subsequent tournaments run through April and early May before the regional tournaments, which are scheduled for May 13-14 at Timber Banks Golf Club in Baldwinsville.