The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Men’s golf looks to rebound from fall season

For the past 24 years, the Blugold men’s golf team has been the dominant university division team in the state of Wisconsin.

The ‘Golds have won eight Wisconsin State University Conference (now the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) championships with four runner-up finishes and one third, but nothing lower than a fourth in the nine-team league.

At the end of the 1997-98 season, veteran coach Frank Wrigglesworth gave way to Todd Oehrlein as head coach. Wrigglesworth headed the program for 22 seasons.

The Blugolds have had three of the most successful seasons in school history since Oehrlein took the helm. Oehrlein is in his fourth season as the Blugold golf coach and his sixth season as the men’s basketball assistant coach.

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This year’s fall season, however, proved to be a struggle for the Blugolds as they couldn’t seem to put it all together.

“We didn’t play as consistent as we had hoped,” Oehrlein said. “We had chances to do well in some tournaments, but we just didn’t finish.”

Oehrlein is optimistic about the spring season as he will be returning the same golfers from the fall, in addition to last season’s nationals individual runner-up, junior Ryan Quinn. Quinn lost national medalist honors by a single stroke to become the school’s first NCAA first team All-American.

“(Quinn) is the best college golfer in the state of Wisconsin at any level,” Oehrlein said. “He’s one of the top five players in the country.”

Quinn has proved talent in two sports, which caused him to miss this year’s fall golf season. he won the national curling championships last year and has earned a spot in the U.S. Olympic trials next November where he will try to make the U.S. Winter Olympic team.

In addition to Quinn, senior Todd Samarzia was a second team All-American as he placed ninth in last year’s national tournament. Senior Ryan Kuhl also has been named All-American in the past.

“We’re hoping the spring will be a fresh start with Quinny back,” Kuhl said. “We just weren’t able to put a whole tournament together. We’re capable though. There’s no shortage of talent on this team.”

To prepare for the season during spring break, many of the team members traveled to Florida and most traveled to Atlanta, Ga., to hone their skills. The team came back to Eau Claire ready to start their spring season.

One of the things stopping this team so far has been Mother Nature. Last week’s tournament in central Iowa was cancelled, due to inclimate weather, which poses a minor problem for the Blugolds.

To qualify for a national bid, the team is required to participate in at least four tournaments in the spring season. The team only had four tournaments scheduled for the spring. Oehrlein is already in the process of rescheduling the tournament.

The team has been practicing outside McPhee as weather permits.

“We hit off of mats last weekend and have been back indoors when the weather doesn’t agree with playing golf,” Oehrlein said.

Future men’s golf meets will be played as weather permits.

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