NEW CONCORD – Five strokes were the difference between John Glenn’s season ending and reaching the 2013 state golf tournament.
The Muskies return their top six returning letterwinners with eyes on defending their Muskingum Valley League title and garnering a berth in the state tournament.
John Glenn won the Jim Vejsicky Memorial tournament Tuesday after going 24-0 in the league and 110-13 in 2013.
Chad Orecchio, who enters his 15th season, knows his team is willing to work to reach their goals.
“The team had an excellent summer playing in youth tournaments, and is playing an extremely difficult schedule to prepare them for postseason play,” Orecchio said.
Sophomore Dylan Van Fossen, the 2013 MVL player of the year and one of three Muskies to earn first-team All-East District honors, headlines a deep lineup. Seniors Nate Terry, Jordan Wheeler, Derek Crum and Christian Taylor and junior Nathaniel Bennett also return.
All six were first-team All-MVL picks. Terry and Wheeler made first team and Crum, Taylor and Bennett second team on the All-East District teams.
“Depth and experience are our strengths,” Orecchio said. “Van Fossen will anchor the team once again, but our seniors will play a huge factor in meeting our goal of reaching the state tournament.”
The Panthers fell five shorts of tying the Muskies at the Vejsicky, finishing second with a 308 as John Glenn won 303. They also were second at Wednesday’s Waterford Invitational.
New Lexington lost Walker Clark from the 2013 MVL runner-up team that was 55-36 overall. But the Panthers return several experienced players, including seniors Joe Harley and Tanner McConnell.
Coach Tim O’Hare, entering his eighth season, expects freshman Kolten Foraker to be among the newcomers who will compete for varsity time.
He has high hopes the Panthers also will make noise in the Southeast District.
“The potential (is there) of having a good team, but consistency is the key,” he said.
The Tornadoes were sixth in the Vejsicky and will be led by senior Erik Engdahl, who aims to finish as an All-MVL and a first-team All-East District pick. Engdahl was second-team All-East District as a junior.
Chris Huff, the ninth-year coach, said Engdahl has the game “to get through the sectionals and advance in the postseason.”
Juniors Blake Stubbins and Luke Imes and sophomore Connor France all are back. Huff said Stubbins “is a key player for our team,’ and Imes and France are improved.
Senior Shawn Carpenter and junior Zach Garber are newcomers to the varsity team. Huff is pleased Carpenter’s dedication has been rewarded and Garber “has great potential.”