The Northern Michigan University golf team will return to action on Thursday, April 3 when they travel to Dayton, Ohio for the Cedarville Invitational on Beavercreek golf course. The Wildcats will be led by their new head coach, Kyle Wittenbach.
Wittenbach said he is excited to be leading the Wildcats this season. He said there is a lot of strength on the Wildcat team.“Jared Reid is our sole senior and led the team in scoring average this past fall,” Wittenbach said. “His leadership is crucial to our success as a team. [Junior] Ayrton Mantha also had a great fall season and is working to be a strong contributor this spring.”
Wittenbach attended Ferris State University and graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in professional golf management.
In 2010, as a member of the FSU golf team, Wittenbach won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference Championship as an individual, as well as with the team.
Wittenbach went on to qualify as an individual in 2012 for the NCAA Division II Golf Championship.
Mantha said the Wildcats are looking good under the leadership of Wittenbach.
“All of us are really excited that Coach Witt is finally here and working with us,” Mantha said. “We’ve hopped right in to training and practice. The team is in a big transition, but Coach is making it easy and also fun for us at the same time.”
Despite the snow and cold weather, the Wildcats have been using their time to prepare for the season.
Wittenberg said the team has been training hard inside the Superior Dome. He said there is no place better for the team to be practicing.
“For hitting practice we’ve been using limited flight golf balls in the Superior Dome, which is absolutely incredible,” Wittenbach said. “I don’t feel that there is a better place to practice indoors in the entire U.P. We’ve certainly taken full advantage of our time there.”
The team practices have also consisted of early morning conditioning sessions, as well as team meetings to discuss goals, strategies and course management.
Wittenbach said both a strong mind and a strong body are important for athlete performance.
Mantha said the team is working hard on goals and looking great.
“Right now our team is looking pretty good I think,” Mantha said. “With the big changes we’re making, I think we are all expecting to have one of the best spring seasons we’ve had in a long time. We’ve set goals individually and as a team, and we’re all looking to reach them.”
One of the Wildcats’ competitors include Malone, the 2013 GLIAC championship team.
Wittenbach said Malone is very strong, while FSU, Grand Valley State University and Tiffin University are also competitive teams to watch for.
Wittenbach said the Wildcats aren’t worried about the other teams.
“We aren’t as concerned with our competition as we are with handling ourselves with professionalism,” Wittenbach said. “We want to meet and exceed our expectations as a group.”