Hungry Freshmen Looking Forward to Spring Success
Feb. 7, 2006
When the Indiana men's golf team opens its spring season on Feb.19 in Guadalajara, Mexico, three of the five Hoosier starters will be in their first season of college golf. But despite the fact that sophomore Santiago Quirarte and senior Scott Seibert are in the minority teaming with freshmen Drew Allenspach, Seth Brandon and Jorge Campillo, the Hoosiers are expecting good things this season from a freshmen-heavy lineup.
"There's a lot to like about these freshmen," head coach Mike Mayer said. "Their passion is unbelievable. What I really like most about them is that they push us (the coaching staff). They're pushing the envelope and that's a great thing to have."
The performance of the freshmen in the fall season is one source of confidence for Mayer. Four freshmen combined for a 73.80 average in five fall tournaments. Campillo (72.87) and Allenspach (73.47) each appeared in all five tournaments with Seth Brandon (75.00) appearing in three and Brandon Pike (75.17) making two appearances. Walk-on Eric Serch was the only freshman to not play in the fall, but Mayer said he expects Serch will see action at some point this spring.
Their performances helped the Hoosiers to three top 10s and one top-five finish and earned them the third slot in Golfstat's final Freshman Class Impact Ranking of the fall season. Indiana's ranking of 384.348 trailed only South Carolina (392.922) and Georgia (389.348). Mayer is counting on the experience from the fall to pay off in the spring.
"I hope they grew up a little bit in the fall," Mayer said. "We're really hoping they're not freshmen anymore."
However, even with the low scores and other honors they earned in the fall, the Hoosiers' best finish was a tie for fifth at the Xavier Invitational, which is a source of disappointment for the team.
"We were a little disappointed because we put ourselves in some pretty good positions, we just didn't finish," Allenspach said. "I think that's where the newness of college golf showed. We're hoping we got all that out in the fall, and now we can go into the spring and capitalize more on those opportunities."
While maintaining high expectations, Mayer emphasized that patience and balance will be keys to the success of this young team. Adjusting to college life can be difficult for any freshman, and adding the travel and time commitments of the golf season doesn't make things any easier. It is a message the coaching staff has tried to drill into its players.
"I had a great conversation with (assistant coach Josh Brewer the other day about when you're on the golf course you have to think about golf, when you're in the classroom you have to be thinking about class," Pike said. "The coaches really help you to narrow your mindset to just one thing at a time. If you break it down that way it will make your life a lot easier."
Campillo, a native of Caceres, Spain, and Serch, who hails from Barcelona, echoed Pike's sentiments. As international students, they feel the team and coaching staff acted as a source of support while they were still dealing with the overseas transition.
"Things are completely different here," Serch said. "Since the first day, the coaches said if you need us, give us a call anytime. They have made me more independent."
Campillo echoed Serch's sentiments completely, agreeing the coaches are always available when needed.
"Fortunately, the coaches are there," Campillo said. "If I needed advice or help with classes I took in the fall, they were there. I liked that."
If the freshmen are able to balance all the fine points of college golf and college life, Mayer thinks the Hoosiers should be in good shape this spring.
"Fortunately, these freshmen are pretty darn hungry," Mayer said. "But when we talk about patience, we're talking about not forcing the issue all the time, not expecting improvement every single day, learning to deal with life academically, socially and being away from home. Patience means finding that balance that I feel you need to play college golf."
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