Aurora -- It's time for high school boys golf, and the Aurora High School program will look to continue its tradition of excellence. This year, the Greenmen will be led by head coach Dave Munson.
The first year coach replaced veteran mentor Gus Mehallis. Munson is excited about the opportunity despite having a young squad.
Only two years ago, the Aurora High golf squad placed eighth in Ohio in Division I. In 2013, AHS had another strong season, but failed to advance deep in the postseason.
Aurora will defend its Chagrin Valley Conference championship, as the locals notched an undefeated Chagrin Division season.
It won't be easy, as the Greenmen will miss a strong graduating class. Conor O'Callaghan was 25th at the Division I district tournament at tough Pine Hills a year ago. He carded an 80.
O'Callaghan was one of three graduated seniors who competed in the 2012 state tourney. The others were Alex Avalon and Sam Nowak. Avalon fired an 82 in sectionals and was the runnerup player of the year in the CVC.
Nowak was the actual medalist in the CVC tournament, showing the program's senior depth. Tommy Riedy is another grad who will be sorely missed, as he earned all-CVC honors.
Returning for Aurora is senior Chris Sloe, who has the most experience of any of the athletes on the roster. "Chris is my top returnee," said Munson, who has another senior in Adam McCullough.
Sloe had a strong back nine in sectional action a year ago to place a respectable 16th in the rugged field. He fired an 80 in CVC action.
As Aurora opened this season Aug. 7 in the preseason CVC tournament, Sloe showed his experience by being the overall medalist at Legend Lakes in Chardon, firing a 1-over-par 73.
Other varsity team members include McCullough, juniors Parker Barnes and Jack Brubaker, and sophomores Jeremy Thorn and Jack Schroeder.
"At this point, our early season focus has been on the short game and course management," pointed out Munson, who has some experience in Brubaker and Barnes, who both made honorable mention all-CVC.
Schroeder and Thorn opened some eyes last year as freshmen by winning the Lakewood St. Edward JV Invitational.
Chagrin Falls, runnerup in the CVC a year ago, looks to have the best experience. The Tigers won the CVC preseason tournament with 315 strokes to Aurora's 321 and Perry's 326.
West Geauga was at 335, Orange 341, Kenston 344, Hawken 390 and Beachwood 398.
Supporting Sloe was Barnes, who had a solid round of 82 for ninth overall. McCullough and Brubaker tied for 13th overall at 83, followed by Thorn 17th at 84 and Schroeder, 21st at 86.