From Grosse Ile, Michigan, Gold Medal winner Abby King has been playing soccer for as long as she can remember.
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Varsity Season Record: 16-1
Captain: Paul Schumacher ’17
Athletic Awards: James O. Tavenner MVP Award: Zach Mandrey ’17; William F. Borges III Spirit Award: Kevin Escott ’18 and Michael Pamer ’17
Ending the season with a record of 16-1 in dual matches is no small feat, but for the 2016 WRA golf team, consistency, dedication and incredible talent earned them this record. “This season was great, the best I have had as a head coach but probably one of the best ever,” said Head Coach Brand Closen. Not only did they earn a tremendous record, but they also won the IPSL for the second time in three years and left with a second place finish at the University School Invitational.
The 2016 team had only two returning varsity players from the previous season, but found a lot of strength in new members to the team and those recovering from injury in the 2015 season. The William F. Borges III Spirit Award winner Kevin Escott ’18, along with Ben Kishore ’17, were the only returning players to the team. They gladly welcomed back senior and captain Paul Schumacher ’17 and William F. Borges III Spirit Award winner Michael Pamer, who both did not play in the 2015 season. Zach Mandry ’17, new to the team this season and looking to gain more golf exposure before playing in college, brought a lot of strength to the team, earning him the James O. Tavenner MVP Award this fall. He hopes to walk on to the Miami University team next fall. Emily Root ‘17, also new to the team this fall, will attend the United States Naval Academy in the fall to play on the women’s golf team. She has also played in numerous PGA junior tournaments and has a national ranking.
The 2017 season will be one of rebuilding, with only Escott returning to the team as a senior. It will be up to the rising JV players to help this team reach the potential it had this season. Three of the team’s golfers have actively competed in PGA junior events, and others have attended academies, like Schumacher who attended Hilton Head Golf Academy bringing his incredible experience to the team over the last four years. These senior players will surely be missed. “The experience this team had was unprecedented for a WRA team. We have had a strong five-year run and the shelf is pretty empty, so we will have to rebuild and reload in order to come even close to what we have accomplished,” said Closen.
Varsity Season Record: 14-4
Captain: Joe Wang ’16
Athletic Awards: Most Improved Player: Owen Weisner ’16; William F. Borges III Spirit Award: Jake Dachille ’16; James O. Tavenner MVP Award: Joe Wang ’16
When you lose one of your top players to graduation, the other to a knee injury and only have one returning scoring member of your previous varsity squad, you must rely on individuals to rise to the occasion and fill key roles on your team. Thankfully, Head Coach Brand Closen was able to do just that, as the varsity boys golf team finished the season with a 14-4 record.
“I was not expecting this type of season, but we are in great shape for next season,” Closen said.
Throughout the season, the boys set new standards for themselves in key dual match wins. Against Lake Ridge Academy, the team rolled their way to a 57-stroke win, as the team shot a combined 160. Captain Joe Wang ’16 earned medalist honors at that match with a 36, and Ben Kishore followed with a low round of 38. A nail-biting early season loss to Shaker Heights by 4 strokes fueled a late season 4-stroke victory over Shaker Heights for the Pioneers. Closen called this match his team’s “best win.”
“Our team goal is to shoot for 160,” stated Closen. “When we can do that, we can put ourselves in a position to win.”
The golfers also traveled to two invitationals this year, placing fifth out of eight teams at the University School Invitational and third at the Interscholastic Preparatory School League Championship held by the Linlsy School in Wheeling, West Virginia.
Hoping to build off of the momentum of the past two seasons, Closen looks forward to an experienced squad returning to the links. Paul Schumacher ’17 will return from his knee injury and captain the team. The team’s number two and number three golfers, Ben Kishore ’17 and Kevin Escott ’18 will be back, seeking to improve on their performances from this year. Closen expects to round out his scores with a rising JV player or a new student.