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August 29, 2001

USI Men's Golf 2001 Fall Outlook: A New Era

The University of Southern Indiana menís golf not only begins a new year in September, but a new era in the history of the program.

For the first time in four seasons, Mark Franklin and Matt Scheessele will not be on the golf course for the Screaming Eagles. Franklin and Scheessele combined for two National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar awards, six All-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors, and Franklinís GLVC Freshman of the Year award. The pair also led USI to three appearances in the NCAA Division II North Regional.

Beginning 2001-02, USI Head Coach Jim Brown will find a new leader to steer the team down the fairway. Two candidates, who could take the lead could be sophomores Zach Smith (Evansville, Indiana) and Tim Garner (Martinsville, Indiana).

Smith played in eight tournaments for the Eagles as a freshman (13 rounds), placing fourth on the team for the year with a 79.7 average and led the Eagles in two tournaments during the spring.

Garner played in nine of USIís 13 tournaments (18 rounds) producing an 80.1 average. The sophomore placed in USIís top two in five of his 13 tournaments with a low of 74 on the first day of the three-round Bradley Invitational.

Coach Brown also may look to juniors Andy Skodinski (New Ross, Indiana) and Ryan Overby (Providence, Kentucky). Skodinski, who was limited to only two tournaments last spring, showed his potential with a pair of 77s in the first two days of the Bradley Invitational, but saw his average drop from 79.5 as a freshman to 80.5 as a sophomore.

Overby was one of the most consistent players for the Eagles last season, playing in 11 of USIís 13 tournaments. He was in the top three for USI in six of the tournaments, leading the way in the first two tournaments of the season.

In addition to the top four returning players from last season, USI welcomes back two juniors Ė Charlie Lane (Bicknell, Indiana) and Brett Smith (Jasper, Indiana) Ė and three sophomores Ė Mike Cole (Indianapolis, Indiana), Chad Horrell (Evansville, Indiana), and Nathan Wolfe (Henderson, Kentucky). Wolfe, who saw only limited action last year as a freshman, led the Eagles at the GLVC Tournament with a three-round 229 and tied for the team low with a 75 in the third round.

New to the team in 2001-02 are freshmen Mike Heider (Anderson, Indiana) and B. J. Pierce (Georgetown, Kentucky). Heider, a 2001 graduate of Anderson High School in Anderson, Indiana, was the AHS Most Valuable Player and won the George T. Hitz Golf Award, the Indiana Head Academic Award, and the Matthew Sromek Memorial Award. He also was named All-County and Academic All-Conference as a junior and senior.

Pierce graduated from Floyd Central High School where he participated in golf and tennis. A four-year letter winner in golf, he was named All-Conference as a junior and senior and appeared in the Indiana High School Association state tournament three straight seasons. The native of Georgetown, Indiana, helped Floyd Central to the sectional championship in 1999, 2000, and 2001 and the regional championship in 1999.

As the squad enters the fall, USI wants to continue to improve upon its standing in the GLVC. The Eagles finished last season in fifth place in the upper division.

More importantly, the Eagles want to return to the NCAA Division II Tournament. USI missed a berth in the tournament for the first time in six seasons last spring. For the first time this year, a GLVC Tournament championship ensures an automatic spot in the national tournament.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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