Times Sports Editor
The Northview golf team isn't without returning experience following a trip to the IHSAA State Finals at The Legends Course last year, what they are missing is the depth that they've had in years past.
The biggest losses to be felt for 2010 is in the graduation of Kade Baker, now playing golf at Rend Lake and Austin Akers, who excelled in his first year on the hardwood for Olney Central. Those two were perhaps the top two golfers on last year's team and Baker reached the second day of play where he placed 35th overall.
While those two will be tough to replace according to head coach Scott Buell, the Knights do return three quality players from the finals squad.
"Big losses with Kade (Baker) and Austin (Akers) being gone, but our three seniors now off the state finals team last year are some of the most experienced players around," Buell said regarding Drew Snyder, Daniel Eaglin and Ryan Turner. "All are very good players and will be our 1-2-3 and they are all right together now. We're really expecting big things out of them."
What will help bolster the Knights' experience and ease the loss of Baker and Akers should be the seniors' play over the summer in a number of tourneys around the state.
"Drew, Ryan and Daniel all played quite a bit (over the summer) in tournaments all over the state and in tournaments locally," Buell said. "That's one of the things I need to get our younger guys doing, is getting involved in those summer tournaments because that's huge and really, colleges look more at what their doing in the summer rather than what their doing in the season other than the state tournament.
We're going to rely on them a lot, they've played in multiple regionals, they've been to the state finals and there aren't many players around with that type of experience," Buell added. "So the younger guys are going to have to look up to them. We're going to have to lean on them as a team and hopefully we can find some guys to fill those four and five slots."
Chasing a spot in the varsity lineup will be a number of players who contributed to the JV team last season.\
"Right now we've got a couple of juniors, Brad Smith and Josh Hoskins are both real close, we've got a senior in Jarrod Short and a sophomore in Larry Knight," Buell said. "Those guys are all looking to get to those top-five spots this Saturday."
One player that won't be in the mix for a varsity spot due to injury is Jacob Musgrave, who was lost during the basketball season.
"That really hurts our depth," Buell said of losing Musgrave to the knee injury in basketball. We were counting on him to be our four or five guy, he was sixth last year and his big thing is just getting healthy for basketball and football next year."
The Knights do have a number of younger players getting their feet wet at the high school level and Buell feels that they'll progress as the season goes along.
"We've got a lot of newcomers this year, but right now I don't see any of them breaking into the varsity level," commented Buell. "They've got some work to do, but they've got some time before they have to play with the big boys."
While the Knights advanced to the state finals, one piece of hardware that eluded the team was a conference title. Edgewood won the title last year and Buell mentioned that competition should be strong again for the Western Indiana Conference title.
"Edgewood lost everybody so I don't expect them to be real strong this year, but South Vermillion is going to be good, their No. 1 had a great summer and a great fall," Buell said of the Wildcats' Brandon Bekkering, who carded a 79 in the WIC match. "Sullivan will be good, they've got some good young players to mix in with their older players, but I expect us to be right there in the mix as far as the conference goes. It's been awhile since we won a conference and its at Brown County this year, it's an unfamiliar course, I've been there once and none of our players have been there."
The season begins for most local teams in the Northview Invitational on Saturday at Forest Park Golf Course.
2010 Northview boys golf schedule
Saturday -- Northview Invitational
April 14 -- At Terre Haute South
April 15 -- Rockville
April 19 -- At Cloverdale (Shakamak)
April 20 -- Owen Valley
April 24 -- At Terre Haute South Invitational
April 29 -- Terre Haute North
May 3 -- Terre Haute South, Linton
May 6 -- South Vermillion
May 8 -- At Bloomington North Invitational
May 10 -- Greencastle
May 11 -- At Terre Haute North
May 13 -- Clay City
May 15 -- At WIC (Brown County)
May 20 -- Sullivan
May 22 -- At Washington Invitational
May 25 -- At West Vigo
June 7 -- At Sectional (Owen Valley)