Guarnieri and company have one goal: Nationals
By Collin Frazier
As the new semester is starting, the Oiler golf teams, led by head coach Dom Guarnieri, are ready to not only repeat their success of last season, but also to improve. However, due to the ongoing threat of the Delta Variant of COVID-19, the season may look very similar to last season.
“With what we had to endure last year, we will probably have a lot of the same stuff put into place if we need to utilize it,” Guarnieri stated. “As far as how we practice, [we will be] keeping in with smaller groups of people. The great thing about golf, being an outdoor sport, it’s much easier to practice golf.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams will be loaded with experience, with returning players earning many honors.
Senior Jill Schmitmeyer was named Findlay Women’s Athlete of the Year.
“I think that’s probably the greatest honor I could have ever received, but it always wants you to hunt for more,” Schmitmeyer said. “Even as a team, we didn’t really achieve everything we wanted. To look back on last season and see that we made it [to] nationals [and] we made it to medal match play, but we lost the first match and didn’t come away with that national championship–we’re definitely more motivated to get back there.”
As for the men’s team, one player to keep an eye on is 20-21 G-MAC Freshman of the Year Justin Atikinson
“He didn’t really miss a beat when he came in, he had a great summer coming into his freshman year, and kept it going through the year so I expect him to improve even more this year,” Guarnieri said.
Of course, the past is in the past, and the men’s team is looking to improve upon an 8th place finish at Regionals.
“Last year I think that just a few of us were just not on our A-game,” senior Tanner Grzegorczyk said . “Our team is good, and I saw that the regionals this upcoming year are at Purgatory in Indiana, and that’s where I won this past year.”
A season ago, Grzegorczyk took 1st at the Ken Partridge Invitational.
“Our team’s played pretty well there in the past, so hopefully we have a good year, make it to regionals, and then hopefully we can make it out [of regionals] this year.”
The women’s team is hoping to improve upon a National Quarterfinals finish.
“We know that to a certain extent, what we’re doing is working,” Schmitmeyer said. “We’re going to continue to push each other, and Coach is going to continue to push us.”
“We have a new program that we’re going to be working with to work on the way we think on the golf and make sure we’re being smart in that aspect as far as where our shots are going and everything like that,” Schmitmeyer said.
The men’s team begin their season Sept. 5 at the Carl Arendsen Invitational, and the women’s begin their season Sept. 13 at the Indianapolis Invitational.
“I’m just ready to get back and get the season started,” said Grzegorczyk. “I think our team should be pretty good. I know we have a bunch of young guys [and] a few of them helped out last year. In this upcoming year, I hear we have few good guys coming in as well, so hopefully they can join up and just keep the team moving in the right direction.”