Williamstown, MA- Things can change quickly in collegiate athletics. Obviously, every year signals an end to an era and brings new faces and talent to a program. Events of one year can also serve to refocus athletes on their goals for the next year, and push them to pursue those goals at a more vigorous pace.
The 2015-16 season had one such event for the men's golf team. When the team missed qualifying for the NESCAC Championship tournament by two shots on their own course, a moment of shock and disappointment was shared by the team before there was a collective agreement to recommit their efforts for the spring season and beyond.
The 2016-17 season demonstrated the resolve of the remaining members of the team. With two key additions, first-years Sam Goldenring and Will Kannegieser, the team not only qualified for the NESCAC Championship, but earned the right to host the event by winning the fall qualifier at Middlebury. In the spring, the Ephs rode that home course advantage to a 16 shot victory over Trinity and Middlebury sending them to Florida to represent the NESCAC at the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.
At nationals, Williams became the first NESCAC team to make the cut, eventually finishing 16th out of the 42 teams that started the event. The success on a national scale put a cap on what was a highly successful 2016-17 campaign and set the stage for the Ephs to enter the Fall 2017 season ranked 22nd nationally in Division III in the first Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll.
Williams graduated two key contributors to last year's team, Jacob Watt-Morse and Ross Hoffman. The good news is that the Ephs retained a solid core and have several players ready and waiting to step in and contribute. Among the returners is senior senior Grant Raffel, who originally came in with the class of 2017 but still has one semester to complete after he took the spring 2016 semester off. While only here for the fall, Raffel will bring his experience and talent to an otherwise young team.
Goldenring and Kannegieser are two of the bright young stars that will look to climb even higher this fall. Each player had tremendous success in their first year with the team, especially in the spring season. Goldenring took home medalist honors in the Williams Spring Opener by going bogey-free over the course of two rounds to finish at a score of four-under par. The next weekend at the NESCAC Championships (also held at Taconic Golf Club), Kannegieser won the tournament with scores of 73 and 72, making par on the last ten holes of the tournament to close it out. Goldenring was eventually named an honorable mention All-American as well as the Northeast Region Rookie of the Year. Both were also rewarded for their play in the fall season with All-NESCAC honors.
The latest addition to the Eph roster is freshman Beau David, who comes to Williamstown from Lafayette, Louisiana. David got a taste of Northeast golf (and weather) last year during a PG year at Taft School. One notable result from his spring season was a 3rd place finish at the New England Prep School Tournament in which he distinguished himself out of a field of 120 golfers with a round of 70.
Three other members of the roster that will look to crack the lineup are sophomores Giebien Na and Ben Beiers and junior captain Jake Foehl. All have made tremendous strides in their game during their time at Williams and should see their hard work pay off this fall.
The Ephs will play in five events this fall beginning this Saturday and Sunday when they compete in the Lake Placid (NY) Invite. Highlightimg the fall schedule are the Williams Fall Invitational September 23-24 and the NESCAC Fall Qualifier at Trinity College the next weekend. The winner of the NESCAC Fall Qualifier gets to host the NESCAC NCaa Qualifier in the spring.