GREENVILLE – The Green Wave varsity boys and girls golf teams are heading to Districts, a first for the boys since the 2002 season, a difficult task for Greenville facing much larger schools each year.
“It is really great that both the boys golf team and the girls team are going to Districts,” said Lady Wave coach Tracy Haines.
“One day we practiced with the girls, played against the girls so I think there is a little competition there and it feeds off each other,” said GHS boys coach Brian Stickel. The girls are having a great season. Nice to have both teams make it out (Districts).
Coach Brian Stickel took time to talk Greenville golf where he has served as the varsity boys golf coach for the past 30 years with four teams making it out of Sectionals to go on to Districts over the 30 year span.
“It’s pretty tough to compete against the bigger schools,” Stickel said. “You have the Saint X’s and the Moeller’s and the Centerville’s, the Beavercreek’s, and Springboro’s and the Mason’s. Those teams are such big schools that those kids can specialize where we have to have our kids playing more than one sport.”
Of the top six Green Wave varsity golfers, three also play tennis, two play baseball and one concentrates on golf.
“I am for them playing more than one sport,” continued Stickel. “I just don’t want them to concentrate on golf. They have to help out our school and the programs. There are other sports that they are involved in so it’s tough, but the kids work hard and they do the best that they can for what they have the ability they have. It’s tough to compete against, no question.”
Dave Westfall, a longtime Greenville teacher and coach assists Coach Stickel with the boys golf program.
“Dave brings a lot of energy, he’s fun to be around, he’s fun with the kids, he’s an experienced golfer, he coached girls golf at Tri-Village for a while,” said Stickel. “I show them one thing and maybe it doesn’t work for them and Dave might show them a little bit different way and it might work for them,”
“Dave brings added eyes to the program and to the kids,” Stickel continued. “H can see something that maybe I’m not seeing in their swing or their putting technique or what they are doing wrong and it can help them out that way.”
In 30 years coaching golf at GHS, Coach Stickel has seen many excellent student athletes come though the boys golf program.
“Probably the best was Chris Fourman and Mac Fiely, definitely the top two,” noted Stickel. “Wes Wirrig is up there. Chad Oliver – I had him early. Dave Peltz was one of the first players I had the first couple of years I coached – he’s right up there.”
The Shilt boys were very good. Cory Jenkinson was a good player, Mac Garrison, those two guys were great golfers for me. Lance Berner, Ryan Boyer they played with Mac and we had some good teams back then, they were a really good group of kids to play with.”
“Jason Grilliot was a good golfer. I only had him for a couple years. Matt Brinley was a good golfer for me. Robbie Bernhart was not too bad. Brannon Sink, Mark Richardson. There have been a lot of good kids and the good thing about golfers – they are usually really pretty good kids.”
I’ve had quite a few good ones,” Stickle said, naming more from his coaching days. “Mitch Custenborder, Kody Lowe, Vince Herzog, Adam Hickerson, Dylan Garland.and Jeremy Meade.”
“Many were good athletes in other sports,” noted Stickel. “You look at Peltz – a really good basketball player, Oliver was a great basketball player, Mac was a good basketball player. The Shilt boys were wrestlers and that is an unusual combination – golf and wrestling. You don’t see that very often. I’ve had so many good kids over the years, great kids. I’ve really enjoyed them all.”
With a young Greenville team heading to Districts, the likelihood did not seem in the cards for Coach Stickel and his team through the first four holes of the sectional tournament.
“I texted the Piqua and Troy coaches,” said Stickel. “We are really good friends and we text each other a lot.”
“I said, ‘we’re toast – we’re done’ and the Troy coach said, ‘it’s still early’. I thought there is no way but once they come around the front side and Warren come in with a 48. But then Alex come in with a 47 and Evan come in with a 42 and I thought, ‘well ‘ and then Jack 47 and Ash 49 and you know they hung in there a little bit and showed some character there”
“Then talking to the boys on the back side, Warren says, ‘well, I’m only 2-over with three to go’ and Alex says, ‘I’m even’ and Evan says, ‘I’m still playing pretty decent’ so I thought they have showed a lot of character.”
“I told them before the match a lot of the pressure is on some of the bigger schools like Troy. They expected to get out (advance), Beavercreek expected to get out, Xenia beat us, Carroll we played with them, they had a really good golfer and I said the pressure is more on those guys, just go out and have fun and I think they started to have fun. They started paring some holes and started enjoying it and it just kept rolling and we pulled it together.”
“For the five guys after four holes as a team we were 30 over par and I just thought, ‘man, there is just no way’. Alex is the one that really pulled it together – he was 10-over after four holes and three over the rest of the way. That’s a tremendous round and that is not an easy golf course to play, I’s a tough golf course, Reed Park North, Springfield.”
With his team returning for the 2020 season, Coach Stickel looks for good things in the Waves golfing future.
“Great day, great experience, great learning for them,” Coach Stickel said. “Building block for next year, Gives them a lot of confidence going into next season hopefully and hopefully it presses some of these younger kids, some of the freshmen and sophomores that I have down on the JV to work and show what can happen if they put some time into it.”
The lesson of the day: “It’s not over ‘til it’s over,” concluded Stickel. “I told the kids you just never know what is going to happen, and this game – it’s crazy, strange things can happen.”
Contact Darke County Media Sports Editor Gaylen Blosser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-548-3330