|2009 COVINGTON BUCCS GOLF TEAM...
The Covington Buccaneers return plenty of talent and hope to challenge for the Cross County Conference championship.
Expectations are higher than ever for the Covington boys golf team thanks to several key players returning and a full varsity and junior varsity roster.
"Our goal this year is to win our league (the Cross County Conference)," said Covington coach Bill Wise. "It will be a challenge because you have some pretty solid teams, but with the guys we have coming back from last year I think we can be very competitive."
Which is saying a lot for the Buccs considering there are no seniors on the roster and they have to find a way to minimize the loss of last years leading golfer, Clark Manson.
"No, we don't have any seniors, but we have four juniors who have played together since they were freshman," Wise explained. "They have a lot of experience and are playing smarter overall. Plus, their skills have improved."
The four juniors leading the way are Eric Becksted, Andrew Tobias, Devon Selanders and Martin Leistner.
"Those kids are doing a good job providing leadership," said Wise. "And they have a passion for the game. They've played golf almost every day since basketball season was over, so their games have improved a good bit."
The two newcomers to the varsity lineup may determine Covington's hopes of a league title as sophomore Christian Carder moves up from the junior varsity level and Samuel Slusher joins the team as a freshman.
"Christian did a good job for us on JVs last year and he's worked a lot on his game over the summer," Wise stated. "Sam is a pretty consistent bogie golfer, so he should be in the 40s."
With the talent Covington has in the varsity lineup it will be difficult for the eight junior varsity performers to crack into varsity action.
But Wise sees two players who could push the others should scores drop off.
"We've got a couple of kids who could fill in at varsity," he said. "Wes Root and D.J. Segar have worked hard and improved their games. Wes is new to the sport, but he's improved dramatically since we started."
Covington's aspirations of claiming a conference title will depend on how several other teams are able to replace graduating losses from a year ago.
"Miami East, Arcanum, Ansonia and Franklin Monroe are always good," Wise praised. "I know they lost a lot, but they always seem to reload. But I think we have a pretty good team that can be right in the thick of things."