The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly men's club golf team will compete in five events during the fall semester, Coach Phil Wade announced recently.
The 10-member group began its season Sept. 1-3 at the annual Missouri Intercollegiate Golf Tournament at The Club at Porta Cima, a private golf course at Lake of the Ozarks.
Teams representing several colleges and universities in Missouri at all levels of collegiate competition attended.
Next on the schedule is the Pittsburg State University Invitational Tournament Sept. 14-16 at the Crestwood Country Club in Pittsburg, Kan.
Later in September, the Grizzlies will either play Mineral Area College in home-and-home matches on consecutive weekends, or they will host their own tournament, Wade said.
On Oct. 5-7, the Grizzlies will participate in the Southwest Baptist University Invitational at Silo Ridge Golf Club in Bolivar, then conclude their fall schedule at Kansas City Kansas Community College's Blue Devil Fall Classic Oct. 12-14 at Dub's Dread Golf Club in Bonner Springs, Kan.
"We're really excited about the coming year," Wade said. "With 10 golfers, we have the largest group of student-athletes on the team since it began two years ago, and all of them are very talented players. It should be a very competitive group."
Leading the way will be returning sophomore Chris Evins of Willow Springs. "We're looking forward to him playing some excellent golf for us this season and being our team leader," Wade said.
Joining him will be freshmen Jonathan Madison of Pocahontas, Jeremy Burns of Melbourne, Jeremy Hambelton of Gainesville, Lance Coffman of West Plains, Josh Kern of Seymour, Matt Kojedski of Thayer, Jacob Bancroft of Warsaw, Keegan McHenry of Jefferson City, and Adam Lebeau of Willow Springs.
"I anticipate a big battle among these guys for our top five spots," Wade said. "The top five will compete in all of our tournaments. The other players will see action, as well, but they will not be tapped to compete in all of the events."
"Still, we want to stay competitive with other teams and with each other as we prepare for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournament in May at Scottsboro, Ala.," he added. "I think we will have several players who will be very competitive at the national tournament."
For the first time in Missouri State-West Plains history, the Grizzlies will field a women's club golf team this year, as well.
Members include Laura McCandless of Highland who led her team to a state championship last year; and Amberrose Woods of Seymour, also a state tournament qualifier in Missouri last fall.
"It will take a couple of years to build our women's program, but these two young ladies were gracious enough to come to Missouri State-West Plains and get our program started. We're excited to have them here," Wade said.
So far, only one event is scheduled for the women, a two-day tournament Sept. 8-9 hosted by William Woods College in Fulton, Mo.
"There will be more women's tournaments in the spring semester," Wade said, adding, "the ladies' schedule is not as intense during the fall semester."
Wade said he would like to thank area residents for their continued support of the program. "I think it's a great opportunity for our student-athletes and Missouri State-West Plains, and the growing participation in the program proves that," he said. "We really appreciate the continued support of the community."
For more information about the Grizzly club golf teams, contact adviser Dr. Herb Lunday, dean of student services, at 417-255-7255.