Sunday, August 15, 1999

BOYS GOLF PREVIEW


Moeller loses five players but still No. 1

BY DAVE SCHUTTE
Enquirer contributor

        Listing the best boys golfers for the 1999 season was easy for Cincinnati area coaches but picking the top teams proved more difficult.

        “Right now, I'd be hard pressed to pick a team that I could guarantee will be No.1,” Sycamore coach Jeff Newberry said.“There's a lot of potential but no one team stands out.”

        Due to this uncertainty, eight of the top 10 teams re ceived first-place votes in the Enquirer's preseason poll.

        Moeller earned the distinction as the top team, even though the Crusaders graduated Division I state medalist Neil Lykins and five seniors.

        Fairfield was second, followed by Lakota West, St. Xavier, Sycamore, Winton Woods, Elder, Turpin, Badin and Oak Hills.

        The individual talent level is at at all-time high. Winton Woods senior Kevin Hall, Moeller's Nick Wunder and Middletown's Marty Miller head the list.

        Others to watch include Roddie Stieger and Kenton Hobbs (Lakota West), Drew Isaac (Sycamore), Chris Jeffery (Milford), Eddie Baker (Hamilton), Dan Gardner (Sycamore), Jeff Kroth and Stephen Gay (St. Xavier), Ben Phalen (Fairfield), Steve Montgomery (Elder), and Steve Koch (Kings).

        1. Moeller: Wearing the favorite's hat for the third consecutive season doesn't sit well with Rick Bohne, the Crusaders veteran coach.

        “We lost a lot and haven't proven anything as yet,” Bohne said. “There's a lot of good teams as capable as us.”

        Moeller's top three golfers, juniors Nick Wunder, Scott Gelhot and Jeff Silber, will be the catalyst but the key will be in the four, five and six spots.

        2. Fairfield: Until two weeks ago, coach Steve Kessler was confident his team would challenge Moeller for the No. 1 spot.

        Today, Kessler named Lakota West as the team to beat.

        “When Roddie Stieger transferred (from Fairfield) to Lakota West, the balance of power switched,” Kessler said. “We'll have a good team but losing Roddie was big blow.”

        Fairfield returns five solid performers: Ben Phalen, Tom Eppley, Jordan Castle, Kyle DeBord and Brian Ingram.

        3. Lakota West: The addition of Stieger gives Lakota West Coach Jack Buhi one of the most talented teams in Cincinnati.

        Returning starters Kris and Kenton Hobbs, Noah Koterba, Peter Hong and Kevin Buhrlage round out a starting lineup that will be tough to beat.

        “Roddie will definitely help us,” Buhi said. “If nothing else, it will make for some stiff competition and make everyone work harder.”

        4. St. Xavier: The Bombers will be a young team and second-year coach Brian Shircliff will build around Stephen Gay, Jeff Kroth and Andrew Deye. “We had a strong JV team that won the GCL last season,” Shircliff said.

        5. Sycamore: Drew Isaac will be the mainstay for a team that returns five letter-winners, including Dan Gardner, Adam Knox, Jason Richeson and Ben Thompson.

        “I would tell people we belong in the second five,” said Newberry. “We'll have the ability to beat teams in the top five on any given day.”

        6. Winton Woods: Kevin Hall, a 16-year-old senior who won six local and state titles this summer and played in three national tournaments, may be in a class by himself.

        “Kevin played in the junior world tournament at Torrey Pines (San Diego) and missed the cut for the finals by six strokes,” Hall's father, Percy, said.

        Along the way, Hall won the Glenview Club championship while also finishing first in the Spring Junior Open at The Mill, Cleveland Minority Tournament in Cleveland, Phalen Classic and Shawnee Lookout Open.

        Hall is featured with Tiger Woods in the September issue of Golf Digest and also in this month's Golf Journal.

        7. Elder: Although the Panthers lost three to graduation, coach Mike Trimpe expects to field a solid team that includes Brian Hartoin, Eric Burkholter, Brian McCarren, Kevin Geiger, John Menninger, Anthony Trimpe and Steve Montgomery.

        8. Turpin: The Spartans have three outstanding golfers in Andy Preising, Bob Kirkham and John Pape but their success will be determined by several newcomers who must take it to the next level.

        9. Hamilton Badin: T.J. Collins (39.5 average) and Tate Prows (38.8) are the foundation of a balanced Badin team that could surface as one of the best in Cincinnati.

        Other players expected to contribute are Greg Jolivette (41.2), Kenny Brunner (40.8), Jeff Burger (43.5), Mark Sanders (42.0) and Mark Koehler (43.5).

        10. Oak Hills: Based on the consistent performances during the summer and a strong finish in 1998, coach Randy Owen is confident the Highlanders will be improved.

        Senior Robbie Buerger and junior Ross Goodson will anchor a team that will also rely on senior Jeff Conklin and Ryan Tallent and juniors Matt Blakely, Joe Morris and Kevin Vollmer.

       



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