MORGANTOWN — There was quite a difference between the outcome of the 2016 and 2017 golf seasons at Morgantown High.
The former saw MHS tackle the fairways with a senior-heavy roster that earned a trip to the Oglebay Resort in Wheeling for the state championship meet.
The latter, however, was a lesson in rebuilding. The Mohigans saw five underclassmen earn varsity letters last fall, fighting their way to a winning record but failing to make a return to state.
Now, three returnees from the 2017 squad — Carter Kline, Andy Seman and Jack Wiedebusch — are taking the lead during the summer to help take MHS back to Oglebay this October.
“I have been very impressed with the trio’s dedication this offseason,” MHS coach Nate Tallman said. “They have competed in the state-wide Callaway junior tournaments, which should pay dividends for the future.”
The Callaway tour, which runs from May to July, traverses the state, visiting such prestigious courses as Oglebay and The Greenbrier, providing valuable competition that can prep athletes for what they’ll see once the high school season opens, in August.
“Playing in so many tournaments should only help us gain experience,” Kline said.
Tallman also met with his athletes three times during the WVSSAC three-weeks period, which gave him an opportunity to scout the potential in his newcomers, glimpse the progress of his returnees, and get the athletes together and on the course as a team.
The workouts took place at The Pines Country Club, in Morgantown, the home course for MHS.
“For me, these practices enable myself to evaluate rising freshmen and others I may have not seen play previously, and build camaraderie and chemistry within the squad,” he said. “We are extremely fortunate to call The Pines our home; it is without a doubt the nicest course we play on throughout the year.”
Kline left the sessions feeling optimistic about both the turnout among freshmen and first-year players and the current level of play from his fellow returnees.
“We had a few new people out, which is good for the future. All our returners look great; they have improved,” he said. “I think the most important part of summer training is just to stay focused.”
Another focus of Tallman is to use his summer sessions to bring his athletes up to speed with the off-season training of athletes across the nation, as he feels it is an area in which West Virginia lacks.
“I think the June three-weeks period is wonderful for every athletic program. We are catching up with surrounding states,” he said. “They will benefit West Virginia long term and allow our young men and women to obtain additional scholarship opportunities at the collegiate level.”
As a whole, Tallman wants to see his golfers consistently improve with each round this summer. With a large roster lined up, Tallman is hopeful that intrasquad competition will help MHS thrive this fall.
“Our expectation for the 2018 campaign is to improve on a daily basis,” he said. “We are fortunate to have a very deep roster. If individuals don’t put in the work, they may get passed up.”
With the June sessions over, the MHS golfers will look to tackle the grueling month-long stretch until the season kicks off, trying to improve upon their games stroke by stroke in hopes of replicating the success of two years prior. According to Kline, he expects nothing less.
“We have a great team with some great players,” he said. “It’s shaping up to be a fun and successful year.”