Vikings had to hold tryouts for the team and make cuts this year

Published 10:11 pm Monday, August 9, 2004

By Staff
because of large ninth-grade class
By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
Niles boys' golf coach Greg Gunder wishes he had this problem every year.
Four days before the Vikings start their 2004 season, Gunder found himself with an abundance of players. Too many for the team, in fact. So, he was forced to hold tryouts Friday to trim the roster.
Of the 21 players trying out, Gunder cut five to make a team of 16 - six varsity, six junior varsity and four alternates.
Eleven of the hopefuls were freshman, six of which made the team. Three of the freshman will play with the varsity team at today's Coloma Comet Invititational.
Niles begins play today as a young team. The Vikings return three players to the varsity team, but lost their number two player from last season, who moved out of the school district.
Gunder said losing their number two golfer has a double impact, because the coach counted on having his brother on the team this year.
The Vikings do have senior Ben Landgraf back this season. Landgraf will be Niles' number one golfer and team-leader. Last season, he had the numbers to be an All-State selection, but was so disappointed in his performance at regionals that he asked Gunder not to turn in his scores.
While his team lacks in high school golf experience, Gunder said they don't lack in tournament experience. All three freshmen on varsity played in the South Bend (Ind.) Junior Tour, playing in tournaments this summer around the city.
Gunder said all the freshmen on his team, as well as the JV players and the alternates, will compete for playing time at the varsity level. Niles' No. 1 junior varsity player's average is just four strokes behind its No. 6 varsity player.
Gunder said he anticipates having several four-hole challenge matches for varsity spots. The challenge matches are good for the team, he said.
Niles finished second in its division behind St. Joseph last year. The Vikings will see St. Joseph today at Coloma.
While today's invitational isn't a conference match, Gunder is quick to point out that it is in no way a preseason event.
Gunder said he and his team are excited to get the season underway, but he said, with all the competition within his team, his varsity squad isn't set in stone.