By Matt Meyle – Collegiate Staff
The Grand Rapids Community College men’s golf team has opened exhibition play with expectations set high. Coach John Forton believes this year’s roster has a lot of potential to do great things come spring time.
“As always with this program, our expectations are nothing less than making it to a national championship,” Forton said.
Returning for a second season as head coach, Forton is excited to get back to work with sophomores, Cameron DeKuiper, Matthew Orwig and Josh Stephan. These Raider veterans will roll into this season with national championship experience under their belts. All three players competed this past May in the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship, in Meza, Arizona. The team finished 16 out of 21 qualifying teams in the nation.
New faces on the Raiders this year are Austin Bayer, Samuel Howard, Ryan Skislak and Nicholas Ward, all of whom are freshmen. Forton said he believes “they all have potential to be very good players,” and is excited to “mold them” into collegiate golfers.
The golf team began their fall play at Bedford Valley Golf Club, in Battle Creek, on Sept. 2, hosted by Olivet College, placing fourth out of 16 schools. Beating 13 four-year schools was , “very impressive for a first outing,” Forton said. GRCC was one of two community colleges competing in the tournament.
After placing fourth out of 16 in their first tournament, and third out of 11 in their second tournament, the Raiders have begun their fall play with optimism and excitement. They compete in eight tournaments from Sept. 2 – Oct. 17. Competition in the fall is more of exhibition play and the tournaments will not affect the team until the spring, where they will focus on competing for a conference, regional, state and national championship.
If you are looking to catch any of the fall action, the GRCC men’s golf team will compete at their home course at Egypt Valley Country Club, in the Trine University Tournament, on Oct. 11, and in the Taylor University Tournament on Oct. 16-17.