Area Boys Golf Preview: Van Buren aims for eighth consecutive BVC crown

Area conference golf tournaments will have a bit of a different look next month.

While eight area schools have switched conference affiliations this year, it appears it will be the same group of schools heading up the list of top returning area boys high school golf teams this season.

Hopewell-Loudon, Riverdale and North Baltimore join the Blanchard Valley Conference where Van Buren will be gunning for its eighth straight BVC title.

HOPEWELL-LOUDON’S BRYCE GORRELL returns to lead the Chieftians this season in their first year in the Blanchard Valley Conference. (Photo by Matthias Leguire)

HOPEWELL-LOUDON’S BRYCE GORRELL returns to lead the Chieftians this season in their first year in the Blanchard Valley Conference. (Photo by Matthias Leguire)

But coach Eric Heitkamp, who has led the Black Knights to four straight trips to the OHSAA state tournament, has just one player, junior Cole Ohlrich back from last year’s unit.

Van Buren will be challenged in the league by Liberty-Benton, which has four all-conference golfers back in Tyson Neiling, Adam August, Nick Streacker and Tyler George. Arlington and Hopewell-Loudon, the winner of the final Midland Athletic League championship last season, could also play a role in the BVC.

Cody Rettig returns for Arlington after posting a 37.0 average and earning all-conference honors while Bryce Gorrill is a returning Division III state qualifier for the Chieftains.

Kalida will be trying to defend it’s title in the Putnam County League and coach Ken Schnipke has the golfers to do it. Five of the team’s top six golfers are back including PCL Player of the Year Zach Erhart. The Wildcats already have an invitational title under its belt as they captured the Allen East Hawthorne Hills tournament title last week.

Bluffton will be a team to watch in the Northwest Conference.

The Pirates have an outstanding No. 1 player returning in senior state qualifier Rich Streicher. But coach Brad Prater thinks freshman Aaron Belcher could challenge for the team’s top spot in most matches.

Other area schools with new league affiliations this year include: Carey, Upper Sandusky and Mohawk moving to the new Northern 10 Conference and Fostoria St. Wendelin and New Riegel playing in the newly-formed Sandusky River League.

Information was not available on teams from Miller City, North Baltimore and Upper Sandusky.

Ada
HEAD COACH: Jason Campbell (2nd year, 5-13).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 5-13/9th in Northwest Conference.
HOME COURSE: Bluffton Golf Club.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Chandler Hughhart, sr.; Zach Park, sr.; Logan Reedy, sr.; Gage Dunn, jr.; Brian Quillen, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Taylor Ramey, soph.; Kennedy Rayl, soph.
NOTABLE: The Bulldogs must replace their top three players from a year ago, including Slade Downing who placed 24th at the OHSAA Division III state tourney.

Arcadia
HEAD COACH: Andy Lyon (4th year, 13-33).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 6-10/6th in Blanchard Valley Conference.
HOME COURSE: Lakeland Golf Course.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Riley Dean, sr.; Jacob Hill, sr.; Kyle Inbody, sr.; Randy Peters, sr.; Alic Davis, jr.; Drew Hanna, jr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Andy Burkmier, sr.; Taylor Showman, sr.; Dylan Waaland, sr.; Paige Diller, jr.; Austin Marczak, jr.; Zach Salazar, soph.; Kadin Harris, soph.; Skye Foster, soph.; Meredith Boes, soph.; Cody Bruce, soph.; Casey Earl, soph.; Drake Spridgeon, fr.; Ryan Inbody, fr.; Colleen Grossman, fr.
NOTABLE: There is plenty of senior experience returning for the Redskins, who have made stedy improvement in Lyon’s first four seasons as coach.

Arlington
HEAD COACH: Clint Dillon (7th year, 81-16).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 15-1/2nd in Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Cody Rettig, jr., 37.0 average’ Michael Bils, jr., 46.0; Cole Thomas, soph., 47.
TOP PROSPECTS: Logan Sheets, jr.; Zach Durliat, jr.; Dylan Frazier, jr.
NOTABLE: Red Devils have a solid group of three players returning including first team all-BVC and second-team all-district selection Cody Rettig. Cole Thomas earned a spot on the all-BVC honorable mention team as a freshman.

Bluffton
HEAD COACH: Brad Prater (10th year, 188-64).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: Not available/2nd in Northwest Conference.
HOME COURSE: Bluffton Golf Club.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Rich Streicher, sr.; Eli Runk, sr.; James Harrod, sr.; Braeden Skilliter, sr.; Aaron Shaw, sr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Aaron Belcher, fr.; Cayleigh Coughlin, fr.
NOTABLE: Rich Streicher is a returning state qualifier for the Pirates. But look for talented freshman Aaron Belcher to turn a few heads this season. They should give Bluffton a 1-2 punch to challenge defending champ Allen East for the Northwest Conference title.

Carey
HEAD COACH: Martin Baker (6th year, 28-37).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 5-7/9th in Midland Athletic League.
HOME COURSE: Bob’s Countryside Golf.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Grant Wentling, sr.; Anthony Driggers, jr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Alex McLaughlin, jr.; Luke Vaughn, soph.; Alex Kimmet, soph.; Dylan Quail, soph.; Chase Wagner, soph.; Brett Mullholand, soph.; Trey Bame, fr.; Easton Roark, fr.; Marcus Miller fr.; Zack Turnbell, fr.
NOTABLE: Despite fielding a young squad featuring nine sophomores and freshmen, Baker thinks the Blue Devils can be competitive in their first season as a member of the Northern 10 Conference.

Columbus Grove
HEAD COACH: Travis Gallmaier (7th year, 99-91).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 8th in Northwest Conference.
HOME COURSE: Delphos Country Club.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Brandon Hoffman, sr., 48.0 average; Logan Hardeman, soph., 57.0; Kyle Welty, soph., 52.0; Noah Oglesbee, soph., 58.0; Wyatt Mayberry, jr., 60.0.
TOP PROSPECTS: Dylan Selby, jr.; Gage Irwin, jr.; Gage Gerdeman, soph.; Brooke Silver, fr.; Geddy Davis, fr.
NOTABLE: Four of Columbus Grove’s top six golfers return from last year’s squad. Hoffman earned a spot on the honorable mention all-NWC team last season for the Bulldogs.

Elmwood
HEAD COACH: Nick Wenzel (7th year, 103-61).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 6th in Northern Buckeye Conference.
HOME COURSE: Birch Run Golf Course.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Nate Ramsey, sr.; Nate Sterling, sr.; Evan Houtz, jr.; Zach Kinney, jr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kaeleb Borner, fr.; Earl Shoemaker, sr.; Collin Bechstein, soph.; Ryan Peter, fr.; Hunter Schwind, fr.; Isaac Donald, fr.; Braden Dauterman, fr.; Aaron Smith, fr.
NOTABLE: Seniors Ramsey and Sterling will be the veteran leaders for an Elmwood team that is young overall. Those two filled the No. 3 and No 4-man spots in the Royals lineup last season.

Fort Jennings
HEAD COACH: Todd Hoehn.
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 4th in Putnam County League.
HOME COURSE: Delphos Country Club.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Sam Vetter, soph.; Alex Sealts, jr.; Collin Weiging, sr.; Nick VonSossan, sr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Drew Grone, jr.; Austin Luebrecht, soph.
NOTABLE: Sam Vetter is back after a solid freshman season. He earned second-team all-PCL honors for the Musketeers last year.

Fostoria
HEAD COACH: Brian Oestreich (4th year).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 7th in Northern Buckeye Conference.
HOME COURSE: Loudon Meadows Golf Club.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Trey Yates, soph.; Robby Crotty, sr.; Isaiah Brough, sr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Tyler Agatiou, jr.; Dalton Cook, soph.; Kyle Hopkins, soph.; Jeremiah Brough, soph.
NOTABLE: Sophomore Trey Yates headlines Fostoria’s squad this year, and the Redmen have two senior letterwinners as well (Robby Crotty and Isaiah Brough). Overall, Fostoria will be young, but Oestreich said his team has improved since last year.

Fostoria St. Wendelin
HEAD COACH: Dan Riztler (13th year, 111-45).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 13-2, 5th in Midland Athletic League.
HOME COURSE: Loudon Meadows Golf Club.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Joey DeHaven, sr.; MaKenzie McAfee, sr.; Peter Campbell, jr.; Cameron Hunter, jr.; Nick Weaver, jr.
NOTABLE: Campbell was an honorable mention all-Midland Athletic League and all-Northwest District selection in 2013.

Hopewell-Loudon
HEAD COACH: Tony Swanagan (1st year).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 15-2/Midland Athletic League champs.
HOME COURSE: Loudon Meadows Golf Club.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Bryce Gorrell, sr.; Waleed Salem, sr.; Garrett Sendelbach, sr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Tyler Rohe, sr.; Ryan Steinmetz, sr.; Deavan Gosche, soph.; Cody Kirian, jr.
NOTABLE: Hopewell-Loudon’s Bryce Gorrell is one of the top players in the area and Swanagan already likes what he’s seen in practice thus far. He thinks his Chieftains will be a competitive group.

Kalida
HEAD COACH: Ken Schnipke (18th year).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 9-5/Putnam County League champs.
HOME COURSE: Country Acres Golf Course.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Zach Erhart, sr.; Brady Mathew, sr.; Evan Recker, jr.; Trent Siebeneck, soph.; Collin Nartker, soph.; Noah Lambert, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Josh Klausing, fr.
NOTABLE: With five returning starters, including all-PCL first team performers Erhart, Mathew and Recker, Schnipke thinks his squad can play with anyone on its schedule this season. Erhart was a co-PCL Player of the Year.

Leipsic
HEAD COACH: Kevin Brandt (7th year, 42-60).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 6-13/3rd in Putnam County League and 5th in Blanchard Valley Conference.
HOME COURSE: Pike Run Golf Course.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Alex Ellerbrock, sr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Nick Goedde, sr.; Bryce Heitmeyer, sr.; Justin Ellerbrock, jr.; Tyler Selhorst, jr.; Doug Steele, fr.
NOTABLE: With just one letterwinner back, Leipsic will have to mature quickly to be competitive in the BVC and PCL this season.

Liberty-Benton
HEAD COACH: Steve Williman (14th year).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 3rd in Blanchard Valley Conference.
HOME COURSE: Sycamore Springs Golf Course.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Adam August, sr.; Tyson Neiling, jr.; Nick Streacker, sr.; Wyatt Young, soph.; Kaiden Robinson, soph.; Tyler George, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Jackson Logsdon, sr.; Elliott Logsdon, soph.; Mac Teeple, jr.; Jacob Myers, jr.; Carter Brand, soph.; Josh Ostrander, sr.
NOTABLE: Neiling (1st-team), August (2nd-team), Streacker (HM) and George (HM) all earned all-BVC honors last season. August avergaed 41.4 strokes per nine holes, Neiling 42.8 and Streacker 43.7. Sophomores Young (48.6), Robinson (47.0) and George (48.1) will provide good competition for the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 spots in the lineup.

McComb
HEAD COACH: Neil Schaublin (13th year, 80-73).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 9-4/4th in Blanchard Valley Conference.
HOME COURSE: Shady Acres Golf Course.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Cody Franks, sr., 42.0 average; Anthony Thepsourinthone, sr., 43.0; Drew Siferd, jr., 43.0; Drew Bryan, jr., 51.0; Gage Leckey, sr., 53.0.
TOP PROSPECTS: Andrew Adams, sr.; Blake Glaser, sr.; Tyge Lopez, soph.; Aaron Rode, soph.; Ryan Buck, soph.; Ryan Wenzinger, soph.; Tommy Bishop, fr.; Brady Leckey, fr.; Justin Wasson, fr..
NOTABLE: Franks should be one of the top golfers to watch in the BVC this season. He was a second-team all-league pick and district qualifier a year ago.

Mohawk
HEAD COACH: Dave Myers (2nd year, 6-10).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 3rd in Midland Athletic League.
HOME COURSE: Lincoln Hills Golf Course.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Bill Dunlap, soph.; Brayden Dunlap, jr.; Cale Harrison, soph.; Nathan Kimmet, soph.; Chet Margraf, soph.; Carson, Weinandy, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kolton Riley, fr.
NOTABLE: Brayden Dunlap, who averaged 42 strokes per nine holes, and Margraf (43.0) were both second-team all-Midland Athletic League selections last season. Both also earned honorable mention all-district honors after qualifying for district competition.

New Riegel
HEAD COACH: Scott Hall (1st year).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 9th in Midland Athletic League.
HOME COURSE: Seneca Hills Golf Course.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Travis Williams, jr.; Jordan Orians, sr.; Ty Halcomn, jr.; Jared Coleman, sr.; Andrew Faber, sr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Lucas Williams, soph.; Allen Acree, fr.; Nate Mack, fr.; Jacob Nye, fr.; Shane Halcomb, soph.; Allison Theis, fr..
NOTABLE: Hall has a nice mix of veterans golfers with good numbers in the younger grades to build around. Travis Williams will line up as the Blue Jackets’ No. 1 player.

Ottawa-Glandorf
HEAD COACH: Tom Von Sossan (4th year).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 1-11/10th in Western Buckeye League.
HOME COURSE: Pike Run Golf Course.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Eric Parys, jr.; Adam Siefker, sr.; Andrew Krukowski, sr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Erik Verhoff, soph.
NOTABLE: The Titans’ only all-conference player from 2013, Carson Williams, graduated last spring.

Ottoville
HEAD COACH: Jim Brown (12th year, 150-33).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 13-4/6th in Putnam County League.
HOME COURSE: Delphos Country Club.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Wesley Markward, sr., 40.6 average; Brendan Schnipke, jr., 48.6; Kaleb Hanicq, soph., 66.2.
TOP PROSPECTS: Isaiah Miller, jr.; Thomas Waldick, soph.; Andy Schimmoeller, fr.
NOTABLE: Markward was a second-team all-conference and honorable mention all-Northwest District selection for the Big Green last season. Brown expects freshman Andy Schimmoeller to slide into the lineup at the No. 3 spot.

Patrick Henry
HEAD COACH: Dave Follett (10th year, 73-67).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 9-5/7th in Northwest Ohio Athletic League.
HOME COURSE: Pike Run Golf Course.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Aaron Tietje, sr.; Joe Nickels, jr.; Jared Nelson, jr.; Jeromy Burt, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Jordan Moore, fr.
NOTABLE: Tietje will be Patriots’ top player for the third straight year. He is a two-time honorable mention all-NWOAL selection and was honorable mention all-Northwest District last year as well.

Riverdale
HEAD COACH: Mark Ruggles (13th year, 75-132).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 0-17/8th in North Central Conference.
HOME COURSE: Sycamore Springs Golf Course.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Alex Pickett, sr.; Harlon Roby, jr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Mason Pickett, fr.; Brandon Pickett, soph.; Jake Sadler, soph.; Chelsea Winteringham, soph.; Mykennah Brandon, fr.
NOTABLE: Alex Pickett was the team’s top rookie last year while Roby bounced between the No. 3 and 4 spot. Goal for this season is to rebuild the program and try and develop more interest in the sport at the school.

Van Buren
HEAD COACH: Eric Heitkamp (13th year, 118-12).
2013 RECORD/CONFERENCE FINISH: 6-1/Blanchard Valley Conference champs.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Cole Ohlrich, jr., 42.8 average.
TOP PROSPECTS: Brandon Wehrle, fr.; Hunter Foltz, fr.; Brant Morton, jr.; Nick Overmyer, jr.; Brayden Harriss, jr.; Britton Jackson, sr.; Schuyler Turner, sr.
NOTABLE: If Van Buren is going to continue its string of success that includes seven straight Blanchard Valley Conference titles and four state tournament trips in a row it will have to reload. Ohlrich is the only veteran back from last year’s team that qualified for the Division III state tournament.

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