By Hannah Orem, Chattanooga, Tenn., —
The men’s golf team is taking advantage of the time they have before the SoCon championship tournament, but they are also working with the added pressure of having to win the championship in order to go to the NCAAs. Head Coach Mark Guhne is focusing on preparing the younger players while also keeping up the morale of the entire team.
Q: How are you prepping for and taking advantage of the time you have off before the SoCon Championships?
]A: We are young this year, and are still working with them. The last tournament we had we made some good progress in some areas so we are going to keep working on that, which is just better management around the golf course. The main thing we are going to do is try to get everybody on the same page and ready to go.
Q: What specifically are you going to focus on and what are you trying to teach the younger players?
A: We want to teach them to manage their expectations and to manage getting their way around the golf course better. Those two things are key for us.
Q: Which players are you sending?
A: I know four of them and then we have a qualifier for the fifth player. The four that are going are Liam Johnston, our only senior, Wes Gosselin [Knoxville], Ewan Scott [St. Andrews, Scotland], and Andrew Weathers [Chattanooga].
Q: What are you expecting out of the four definite players?
A: Ewan and Liam had really good tournaments this past weekend and are really starting to play well. If they can continue their good play and if we can get Wes and Andy to play the way I know they can, I think we’ve got a decent shot at it. The conference if stronger this year than it has been in a long time so I think it’s going to be interesting. I think there is any one of five teams that can win. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and we will see what happens when we get down there.
Q: Will this determine if you go to regionals or not?
A: We have been to the last eight NCAA tournaments and that’s a pretty good streak, but this year we are in the position where we have to win the conference to be able to go. We have to win to move on and the guys know that, so it’s a little bit of added pressure that we haven’t had in the last couple years. It is what it is, especially with a young group and they are going to have to rise to the occasion.
Q: What is the mentality and morale with the players right now?
A: I think it’s pretty good. We’ve had a lot of success in the conference. They believe they can go down there and do it. They’ve beaten every team this year, but also I think every team has beaten every other team in the conference. When your top two players have weeks like they did this past week it definitely helps the morale.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to mention going forward?
A: I want to say something about Liam. He’s been such a big part of our program here and the biggest wins we have had have been while he was on the team. We definitely hope this isn’t his last tournament but he’s done a good job and I’m really proud of him. He’s been a great student and great athlete and has represented UTC well. He’s definitely going to be missed.