Photo Courtesy of Joey Krecic

CSU's men's golf team celebrate its achievement as Horizon League champions, looking forward to the new season

 

February 29, 2016

Back-to-back conference champions:
Men’s golf receives rings at The Q

Members of the Cleveland State University men’s golf team received their Horizon League Championship rings for the second year in a row during halftime at the men’s basketball game against Valparaiso University on Feb. 16 at the Quicken Loans Arena.


Team members proudly wore rings from their win in 2014 to accompany new rings, leaving Quicken Loans Arena with back-to-back wins wrapped around their fingers.


Head coach Steve Weir and Michael Balcar, graduate assistant and former player, worked together and came up with the ring design for the reigning championship team.


“Our seniors had the opportunity to design this year’s ring with a little bit of guidance from myself,” Weir said. “Last year’s ring was about a [design] that we hadn’t created yet.”
The ring featured a large “V” for Vikings in the middle, surrounded by seven green stones to represent the seven conference wins in the program’s history, according to Weir.

“It was a great experience to receive our rings at Quicken Loans because of the reputation the arena has,” junior Pat Luth said. “We are all very close to each other — like brothers, and everyone contributed towards the championship in some way making this year [very] special.”

Last year, Golfweek.com call-ed the defending champions a “sleeper team,” after they lost three-time Player of the Year Andrew Bailey who finished his final year in the 2014-2015 season.
After a slow start, the team went on to score strongly during the final round to beat second place team, Oakland University by 10 strokes.

They ended the season with a Golfweek ranking of 167 in the country.
After a well-played fall season, Cleveland State continues to lead in the rankings and is the Horizon League favorite as they come into the spring season.

The team now stands in first with a ranking of 151, with Youngstown University sitting in second, ranking 156.

“It takes a lot of work and sacrificing to become a champion and to see it payoff is very rewarding,” senior Mitchell Moore said. “The next step [is to] start competing at the national stage, which takes more work.”
While the Cleveland State men’s golf program now has seven conference wins, and it looks to gain an eighth, according to Moore. It’s getting past regionals that is the issue.
“We as a team share a common goal, but it’s the intensity that propels us year after year,” said sophomore Joey Krecic.

According to Weir, they aren’t thinking that far ahead into the season, as they are just focusing on their upcoming tournaments taking one match at a time.

Despite it being a team effort, golf is an individual sport and each of the players focus on different aspects of the game to improve his performance.

“The way I approach the game now has been becoming more mature on the golf course, not firing at sucker pins, and being able to strategize around the golf course,” Luth said.

According to Balcar, it is the great work ethic from every player that allows this golf program to get better and better throughout the seasons.

“I made a lot of lifelong friends through this program,” Balcar said. “We are fortunate to have a great staff behind us to help us get better every day on and off the course, and it didn’t hurt to win two championships along the way!”

The next tournament is Feb. 29 and March 1 in North Carolina at the Davidson Invitational. For updates, follow them on Twitter @CSUVikingsGolf.



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