Featured Image: Junior John Wampler finishes his swing at the Sleepy Hole in Suffolk, Va. Alysse Scripter | Courtesy
The Virginia Wesleyan Golf team’s season has been more than interesting, which makes sense for having such a young team with only one junior and the rest being freshmen and sophomores.
“We don’t have any seniors. We only have one junior. So we’re young. We’ve got a lot of young players. Our makeup is also a lot of folks who came into the program vicariously,” Tom Hall, director of Men’s and Women’s Golf, said.
However, that’s not going to stop them from being competitive this season. Hall explained that when the team was down in Ocean Isle Beach for the Pfeiffer Invitational, they competed against a very competitive field. He also mentioned that at the Maryland Invitational, the team placed fourth overall against some strong competition as well.
This level of play didn’t come from anywhere, as you can see them improving and getting better throughout the season as a whole. Hall explained that he plans to build this program behind a young team.
“So we have a really nice solid group of freshmen this year,” Hall said. “I know we’re going to add next year with some good players and begin to develop the program behind a bunch of young guys.”
The players also seem to have a good feeling about the team. “The culture of the team is really good, we all want to get better and push each other to be better,” freshman Jacob Swiggart said.
Even with having a young team, Hall has an optimistic look at the season and the future of the program.
“I feel like the season has been good so far. We have done okay as a team and we are looking to improve on our last events in the Spring,” Hall said.
Junior Golf Captain John Wampler expressed that since this could be considered a culture building team, there may be some growing pains, but the best part about a young team is the amount of untapped potential that could be found.
“The season has been okay. We haven’t quite played up to our full potential but we still have three events to prove where we’re at. But the team has improved a lot since fall as a whole,” Wampler said.
The team keeps getting better and it could be because of how close they are as a team.
“Oh, our guys are tight,” Hall said. “They spent a lot of time together. They have a tremendous bond and a tremendous relationship with one another. I couldn’t ask for anything more coming into a new program. That’s one of those things that didn’t have to be fixed. The guys are great.”
Hall also tries to set and meet expectations and goals not only to compete but to improve the players as much as possible and to make the program better in the future.
“I think part of it is you have to establish reasonable expectations. Us going out and winning a national championship this year is not a reasonable expectation. So our first expectation was that we were going to get guys out there and give them the opportunity to play golf. And I think we’ve done that,” Hall said. “The second thing is, our expectation was that we were going to shoot a number. Golf is all about the number. So we were going to shoot a number, hopefully, at 300 or lower. That’s the ultimate goal. We haven’t quite achieved that yet. I think our best round so far this year has been 312. But we’re close. We’re getting there and there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
The Marlins head to Elizabethton, Tennessee to compete at the Mountain Empire Intercollegiate on April 10-11.
By Cyril Coefield