- Sean Fritz
- Sports Editor
The IUP men’s golf team will be back in action this fall, fresh off of another season of reaching the NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Region Championships.
The Crimson Hawks fared well last year, culminating in back-to-back first place finishes in April at the Oglebay Intercollegiate, followed by the Dr. Edwin B. Cottrell Invitational, which led them to another NCAA Region Championships appearance.
This season, the team will begin with the Vulcan Invitational Sept. 5-6 in Belle Vernon, a tournament in which they tied for first and lost in a playoff last October.
IUP is hoping to repeat that performance at this year’s invitational with the help of Josh Bartley (junior, business management), who finished in first place individually at the invitational last year, a career best finish for him.
Another key component returning for the Crimson Hawks is Max Kirsch (senior, undeclared business). Kirsch was named to the all-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference team for the third consecutive year last season, and will look to make it four with a good start this year.
In addition to all-PSAC honors, Kirsch was also named to the PING All-Region team following a strong 2015-16 campaign.
As for this season, Kirsch hopes to use that experience and momentum to help bring along some of the younger players.
“I think we are going to have another good year,” Kirsch said. “I had a really good summer of golf and I, along with the three juniors, are going to try and lead the freshman.”
Kirsch spoke highly of one particular freshman newcomer,
“I went to high school with Jeremy,” he said, “and I know how he plays and I know his potential on the course, so I’m hoping I can lead him in the right direction and the other young players will follow.”
Kirsch and his teammates will get a chance to get on the course in the coming weeks and put their plans into action.
After the Vulcan Invitational, IUP will partake in the Glade Springs Invitational Sept. 12 and 13 in Daniels, West Va.; the Hal Hansen Invitational Sept. 18 and 19 in Clarion; the Howard “Bud” Elwell Invitational Oct. 2 and 3 in Erie; and finally, the PSAC Championship Oct. 15 and 16 in Hershey.
IUP will look to keep last year’s momentum going when they take to the tee in September, hoping their veteran golfers will lead them in the pursuit toward a PSAC championship and possibly another birth in the NCAA Division II Regional Championships.