Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 4, 2008
Eight golfers, including lettermen Terry Gleason, Kyle Hildebrandt, and Frank Austin, return for another season on the Gator varsity. While most of the team is back from last year, the steady play of 2008 graduate Andy Beck will be missed. “He’s a big loss,” head coach Bob Raudenbush said of Beck, who was named to the Penn-York League all-star team last season. “He was going out and getting 10 or 9 points every match, giving us a chance to win. Without him, we have some ground to make up.”
Competition for the No. 1 spot should be wide open, but Raudenbush expects Gleason to provide some stability for a roster dominated by underclassmen. “Terry’s our only senior,” he noted. “We’re definitely looking for his leadership to help our younger players.”
The large sophomore contingent is led by Hildebrandt, Port’s top returning scorer from the 2007 district championships, and Austin also lettered as a freshman. They’re joined by returning players John-Michael Austin, Todd Bigley, and Marcus Borowsky, along with newcomers Chad Barnard, Kody Taylor, and Chester Tanner. Freshmen Charlie Buchanan, Jaret Martin, and Josh Morey round out the squad.
“We have 12 players, so the interest is there,” said Raudenbush, who will be assisted by Chris Ernst again this season. “They’re a great bunch of kids, very coachable, they want to learn. And we’re very young. We can keep working with these kids. I think we’re capable; we have some pretty talented kids. We just have to get them on the golf course.”
That necessity, a minor detail for most teams, has become a major challenge for the Gator programs since Indian Echo Country Club closed several years ago. Raudenbush hates to use it as an excuse for the lack of recent team success, but he admitted, “The reality is, without a course for our kids to play on over the summer, we have an uphill climb. Last year, as the season progressed, our point difference kept getting smaller. I felt like we were making up ground … but there was too much ground to make up.”
Raudenbush has set some team goals for the 2008 season, saying he’d “like to get a win this year,” but he emphasizes the long-term benefits of the game.
“Individually, we try to help them progress as far as they can,” he said. “Wins and losses take care of themselves. We look at it as a lifetime sport. We’re excited that we have the numbers we do, and we feel like we’re getting them ready for the rest of their life playing golf.”