St. Charles aims to beat expectations
Andy MacKinnon had a stacked deck in his first year as golf coach at St. Charles Preparatory School last season.
But after losing their top eight players from a class that won Division I state titles as sophomores and juniors to graduation and narrowly missing a third consecutive trip to state, the Cardinals have many new faces on the course. However, they also may have the talent needed to return to state.
"As crazy as it sounds, no one expects us to do anything, which can be a good thing," MacKinnon said. "Last year the expectations were the moon, but this year they are much more reasonable. We shot a 301 in the district (tournament at Apple Valley) and didn't advance to state. That's how tough it was."
St. Charles failed to defend its back-to-back state titles after finishing fourth (301) at district, behind the three state qualifiers in eventual state champion Dublin Jerome (296), Upper Arlington (297) and Dublin Coffman (299).
Nate Yankovich, a 2012 graduate who is playing at the University of Iowa, led the Cardinals at district with a 72 to advance to state, where he had a two-day total of 157 to tie Medina's Patrick Luth, UA's Justin Wick and Centerville's Caleb Walters for 12th.
Senior Andrew DiSantis was the St. Charles' lowest scorer during preseason tryouts. He saw limited varsity play last season.
"In the past, we were always chasing the (previous season's seniors) ahead of us, but now we have the chance to show what we can do," DiSantis said. "We all have to focus on playing consistently and prepare ourselves to do well in the postseason."
Rounding out the team's top five are junior Tanner Plewa, junior Connor Huelsman, sophomore Eddie O'Brien and junior Sam Schmelzer.
Others who could see varsity action this fall are seniors Kyle Houston and Mike Wallace, juniors Will Knudson, Corey McCullers, Troy Plewa and Connor Yakobuv and freshman Jacob Rumfola.
"I think since the kids haven't been through district and state, I'm going to have to help them more this year," MacKinnon said. "To them, all of the tournaments and many of the courses are new and they have to face a different level of competition."
In the sectional tournament last year at Granville Golf Course, the Cardinals finished second (303) behind UA (298) and ahead of fellow district-qualifiers Granville (311) and Olentangy (317).
St. Charles competes in the CCL preseason tournament on Tuesday, Aug. 21, at Granville Golf Course.
MacKinnon said 37 players participated in tryouts this year, including 15 freshmen. Last season, the Cardinals had 31 at tryouts.