BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — Third-year boys golf coach Jake Tapley’s Maumee program returns three starters off its 2018 team, which bettered 13 opponents, placed seventh in the Northern Lakes League and finished 14th at sectionals.
The Panthers graduated two of their top three golfers in Quinn Deitering and Evan McConaughey, as well as another starter in Hadyn Schroeder.
All three returners are second-year varsity players and include seniors Michael Stamm and Jackson Albright and sophomore Andrew Bick.
“With Michael and Jackson being our seniors, I’m definitely looking at those two to lead the way for the younger guys,” Tapley said. “I know from talking to them and seeing them out at some of our volunteer practices that they each improved since last season. I’m excited to have them back.”
Stamm led this trio last year with an average score of 52.6 over nine-hole rounds and 105.6 over 18 holes. His top scores were a 45 and a 103 last year as a junior.
“Some of the things that stand out when I think about Michael are his calm demeanor and his patience” Tapley said. “He doesn’t often get riled up about things. He’s able to move on from a bad shot or a bad round. It doesn’t really seem to bring him down or change the way he approaches the next shot.”
Albright followed at 55.4 and 113.1 and Bick averaged 59.3 and 130.8. Albright posted top marks of 46 and 104 as a junior.
“Jackson just goes out there and has fun,” Tapley said. “He doesn’t take things too seriously. He doesn’t get too hard on himself and doesn’t get too angry if things don’t go his way. He just enjoys the game – which is great.”
Bick’s top freshman scores included a 48 and a 123.
“Andrew was the only freshman we had last year,” Tapley said. “He dedicated his time over the summer to improve. He’s very driven. He’s gotten taller and he’s getting a little bigger in size. As he continues to grow, I think he’s going to continue to improve.”
Tapley called all three of his returners “good guys” whom he “enjoys being around.”
Fighting to join Stamm, Albright and Bick in rounding out Maumee’s 2019 varsity squad will be five newcomers in sophomore Caleb Batey and freshmen Sam Mullins, Max Rosenberger, William Ruby and Eric Smith.
“I’ve got a total of eight players unless I get surprised between now and tryouts, so I think they are all going to rotate,” Tapley said. “They are not going to get that sort of warmup junior varsity experience most players get. Instead, they are going to get thrown to the wolves a little bit.”
Batey is the most experienced of this group, having already played golf for a couple of years.
“I expect Caleb to probably be up there, just by nature of his experience,” Tapley said. “He’s got a pretty good swing about him. He pays attention, he listens to feedback and he seems eager to improve.”
As for his four frosh, Tapley said, “I think the freshmen are all collectively pretty new to the game, so a lot of them are still learning the basics and fundamentals,” Tapley said. “They were all four eighth-graders at Gateway, where I am one of the counselors, so I know all of them. I don’t have a group of strangers.”
Maumee will open its 2019 season at Maumee Bay State Park Golf Course on Monday, August 5, when it will take part in Central Catholic’s Irish Invitational at 8:00 a.m.