By Emily Jodway, Sports Information Student Assistant
Alma, Mich. - With the start of a new season approaching, the Alma College golf program looks toward its 10 returning players for leadership and experience to guide the seven newcomers on the team. In the 2016 season, the men's team took seventh overall in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), while the women ended with a fourth place finish at the end of the fall championship.
The Scots graduated a total of five seniors at the end of last season, and with one senior on each team this year, they will look to leadership roles from returning juniors and sophomores as well. Returning to the program for the men are juniors Bennett Schmidt (Frankfort, Mich./Frankfort) and Kyle Bodkins (Ada, Mich./Forest Hills Central).
Entering his 30th year as head coach, Charlie Goffnett cites experience at the top of the lineup from Schmidt and Bodkins as well as talented incoming freshmen as game-changers for this fall. Newcomers include Reese Middleton (Perry, Mich./Perry), and Tait Morrissey (Canadian Lakes, Mich./Big Rapids).
"The freshmen will get their feet wet this weekend at their first tournament," Goffnett said.
Of the juniors, Goffnett said, "We'll try and focus on their own games and keep improving step by step on their development from their first two years." Bodkins and Schmidt each had their season-bests at the MIAA Jamboree, with 16th and 33rd place finishes, respectively.
On the women's side, the team welcomes back one senior, five juniors, and two sophomores, with the addition of three new freshmen. Familiar faces include Kennedy Hilley (Lake Odessa, Mich./Lakewood), who tied her own program record of a 74 (+2) at the Railside D3 Classic, Katie Neiswender (Quincy, Ill./Notre Dame), who shot a career-best score of 83 (+11) at the MIAA Jamboree last season, and Tori Basso (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion), who ended her season last year with a career-high score of 82 (+10) at the third round of the MIAA Jamboree.
"We've got a lot of veterans coming back this year," Coach Goffnett said. "We definitely want to take a step up this year. We've been developing and getting ready to take over, and have more experience to reach our goal of playing in the MIAA tournament."
The Scots' season begins on Friday, September 1, as the men's team heads to Battle Creek for the Lou Collins Invitational. The two-day tournament, held at Bedford Valley Golf Club, is set to begin at 10:00 am. The women begin play on Friday, September 8 at The Medalist Golf Club in Marshall, Mich.
Contact: Zach Russo, Assistant Sports Information Director, (989) 463-7436