The nationally-ranked Ferris State University men's golf program is hopeful the success achieved in its previous three seasons will continue in the 2000-2001 campaign.
The Bulldogs are coming off their fifth consecutive NCAA Division II National Championship appearance last May and tied for eighth place with California-Davis at the 38th Annual NCAA-II Championships in Turlock, Calif. Ferris State not only claimed two District IV Tournament titles in 1999-2000, but won the NCAA-II North Regional for the third straight year. FSU concluded the season ranked ninth nationally in the NCAA-II Mastercard Collegiate Golf Rankings while holding the distinction of being District IV's top-ranked team.
While second-year head coach Brad Bedortha is optimistic about this season's outlook, the Bulldogs will need to find capable replacements for two seniors- John Hagemeier and Scott Seifferlin. Junior Dustin Akers will also be absent from the links due to serving a Professional Golf Management (PGM) internship.
However, Ferris State still has a number of accomplished players to build a solid team around. Sophomore Mitch Flemming (St. Clair Shores/Lakeview) returns after finishing eighth place overall with a four-round 290-stroke score at last spring's national championship. Flemming's top 10 national tourney placing represented the highest finish in the program's history. Also returning to the fold is junior Chad Tate (Cass City), the 1999 Golf Coaches Association of America's (GCAA) Division II Freshman of the Year. A season ago, Tate posted the team's second lowest stroke average at 74.5.
There will be numerous players called upon to solidify the starting five. This group will include seniors Ian Ziska (Manistee/Cadillac) and Nick Clearwater (Mt. Pleasant), juniors Chris Vossekuil (Twin Lake/Muskegon Reeths-Puffer), Cam Hubbard (Tecumseh, Kan./Shawnee Heights), Christoph Spora (Zell/See, Austria), Tyler Averdick (Villa Hills, Ky./Villa Madonna Academy) and James Cain (Morley-Stanwood) along with sophomores Pat Simmer (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin Derham Hall), Jake Johnson (Wyomissing, Pa.) and Kyle Zolp (Frankfort, Ill./Providence Catholic).
The fall portion of the Bulldogs' 2000-2001 season will be highlighted by playing host to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championships (Oct. 12-13) as FSU will attempt to regain the conference title. Ferris is also scheduled to participate in the 2000 Golf World Match Play Championship (Oct. 21-23) in Tupelo, Miss. The Bulldogs will seek to defend their regional championship crown in the spring while recording a potential higher finish at the national championship, which will be hosted by Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich.