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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘The vibes are really, really good’: Men’s golf looks forward to record-setting year

(Courtesy of GoShockers.com)

Wichita State men’s golf hasn’t made it to the national championship since 2005, during head coach Judd Easterling’s senior year. Other than the loss of Braeburn Golf Course in 2014, not much has changed for the sport at Wichita State. The key to the championship, Easterling said, is to backtrack.

“You have to play well (in the) first event, second event, all nine events,” he said. “Obviously, have a good showing in conference – that would get us into regionals. Hopefully, (we’ll) finish top five in regionals (and) get back to the national championship. That’s goal number one.”

The team has a good lineup this year, with six returners and three newcomers. Seniors Blake Lorenz and Aston Castillo alongside juniors Michael Winslow, Tate Herrenbruck, Lucas Schuefler and Adam Balatka are returning to the team this season. 

The newcomers feature two true freshmen, Ty Adkins and Conner Geist, and one transfer student, Zach Sokolosky, who’s in his senior year.

Easterling hopes the team can recognize their talent and live up to their potential this season, with Cole Elmore backing as assistant coach for his first season at Wichita State.

“We qualified really well the last couple weeks (with) some scores that I’ve never seen since I’ve become head coach here,” Easterling said. “The guys are playing well at a high level.

“Everyone’s getting along, the vibes are really, really good. They understand how much better we are this year, and I think when they see that, start to understand that as student athletes, it makes Cole’s and I’s job really easy.” 

With such a small team, Easterling strives to ensure that all the players are on board. 

“It’s not as hard when you have a transfer that’s 23, 24 years old,” he said. “(Sokolosky) knows what college golf is all about. And then with two freshmen, they’re already up to speed with what we’re trying to do. It’s gonna be a really easy transition to get these guys going.”

Although Easterling left the course 18 years ago, the community support for men’s golf in Wichita has remained and is stronger than ever.

“The golf courses we have access to are probably top 10 in the country if not top five. Our guys are members at two golf courses, which is unheard of,” Easterling said. “A lot of people are still here from when I played. We’re just very fortunate.”

For Easterling, returning to Wichita State to coach has been a “dream come true.” He was able to coach with the coach he played for, Grier Jones, before taking over.

“When I started coaching 10, 11 years ago, this is where I wanted to end up,” Easterling said. “It’s just honestly a dream come true to sit here and be able to lead these young men.”

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About the Contributor
Sascha Harvey
Sascha Harvey, Opinion Editor
Sascha Harvey is the opinon editor for The Sunflower. A junior majoring in graphic design, this is Harvey's third year on staff and second year as a section editor. He is originally from Arkansas but has no accent to speak of (unless you listen really hard). The graphic design major enjoys covering feature stories and local news. Harvey uses he/him pronouns.

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