Stryker and Luis Miron of Hicksville will tee it up beginning Friday at the Division III State boys golf Championships at The Scarlet Course on the campus of Ohio State University. Action gets underway at 9 a.m. on Friday, with the two-day event concluding on Saturday.
For the Panthers, this marks their second trip to the state tournament in the last three seasons as a team. Stryker qualified for the tournament after placing third at districts with a 325 team score. Last season, the Panthers missed the cut for the state tournament by only four strokes. In 2009, Stryker finished eighth in the state.
According to Panther head coach John Ruffer, his team has a different attitude heading into this year's tournament. "Last time we were just happy to get to state. This year, having been there before, our guys are looking to win," said Ruffer.
The Panthers will be bringing back plenty of experience.
"We have a very veteran group," Ruffer pointed out. "Three of our top five golfers from the last couple years are returning." Those three golfers are seniors Troy Saunders and Jared DeGroff, along with junior Hunter Clingaman. Troy has been our number-one golfer all year. He has been very consistent."
Ruffer also pointed to Jared DeGroff as a team leader.
"Jared has really come on strong in the second half of the season," said the Stryker mentor.
DeGroff paced the Panthers in districts, posting a team low score of 77. The Panthers will also feature senior Taylor Brown and freshman Tanner Clingaman.
Meanwhile, Hicksville will be sending Miron, a freshman exchange student from the Canary Islands, to the state tournament as an individual.
Miron advanced to state after shooting a 79 at districts.
"Luis has been playing golf since he was 9-year-old and is a very good golfer," stated Hicksville head coach Jeff Haught. "He has had to adjust to playing on all the different courses, but he is very hard worker and practices all the time. He has made the adjustment well."