The Quinnipiac men’s golf team will hit the links this year with high aspirations of winning the NEC Championship. Their lineup is solid from top to bottom and after being ranked to finish sixth in the conference by the preseason coaches’ poll, Head Coach Todd Howes believes they can finish much higher than that.
“We are definitely looking to win the [NEC’s],” Howes said. “We have played every team in the fall, and we have either beaten or competed with all of them.”
After having a strong fall season and winning their first tournament as a Division I competitor, the Bobcats hope to carry the momentum into spring success.
Senior captain Michael Barron also hopes to cap off his four year career with both individual and team accomplishments.
“Our ultimate goal is to win the NEC’s and earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. Other than that, nothing else seems to matter,” Barron said.
Coach Howes believes that Barron is set to have a triumphant spring and lead his teammates to a conference championship. “He is a senior, and that experience will serve him well this spring,” Howes said.
Another leader Howe looks to on and off the course is sophomore Craig Cyr. “He is a leader from both the athletic and psychological stand point,” Howes said.
Cyr, is the number one golfer on the team and it is his play on the course that sets the tone for the other Bobcats. “He seems to be unaffected on the course. He can make a bad shot and recover quickly without it really affecting his game,” Howes said.
There seems to be a wealth of talent of all ages, as freshman Steve Velardi is “one of the best players on the team, despite his age,” Howes said.
Howes also said of Velardi, “He has the chance to really have a breakout season this spring.”
The fact that the golf team is such a small squad also seems to have a profound impact on the players. “While golf is not a team sport like other team sports, we are still a very close team,” Barron said. “I spend a lot of time with the other seven guys and it is good that everyone really seems to get along.”
This close knit mentality may carry the Bobcats to their first NEC Division I title in school history, but there will be some obstacles along the way.
“The New England Championships on April 17 and 18 will be a test for this team. It will be a good barometer to see where we stand,” Howes said.
Howes also believes that it would be a bonus if a Bobcat were to walk away with and individual championship at the NEC’s as well. “Craig Cyr certainly has a good chance to win the event from an individual stand point,” Howes said.
Barron does not believe that individual success is the main focus on the season. “As long as we win the NEC’s and get into that NCAA Championship, it doesn’t matter what happens individually. That means nothing at all,” he said.
The Bobcats seem to be taking the right attitude. With their constant training and the parity of the conference, Quinnipiac may be in store for their first golf Division I championship in school history.