Wright State Insider: Golf team goes south to get their swings in

Raiders set to host own invitational at Heatherwoode GC

Local golfers haven’t been able to tee it up much while contending with a frigid spring, including multiple days of snow in April, but Wright State players have had no trouble getting their swings in over the last couple of months.

That’s because they’ve played in tournaments in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. And while those states also have had brisk temperatures at times, the Raiders found mostly balmy weather on the days they were there.

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“This spring has actually been the nicest spring since I’ve been here,” said Wright State golf coach Brian Arlinghaus, who was an assistant for two years before taking over for the retired Pete Samborsky last July.

“We’ve had really good luck with our travel schedules. You miss those snow storms at home being in Cape Fear, N.C.”

When they’re not on the road, they still bundle up and golf outside or just hit balls into nets at the Nutter Center.

“We’ve gotten our reps in,” Arlinghaus said.

The Raiders are hoping for a break in the weather at home when they host the fourth annual Wright State Invitational at Heatherwoode on Sunday and Monday.

The 11-team event allows six players to compete per school instead of the usual five. The format is geared to help programs sort out their lineups for their upcoming conference tourneys.

It was held at the Miami Valley Golf Club the previous three years, and the Raiders were second once and third twice. Pulling off another top-three finish will be more of a challenge this year since they have just one senior in No. 1 player Chris Rossi of Fairfield.

“We have a young team, and every week there’s progress. That’s all I can ask for,” Arlinghaus said.

The Raiders had their best effort of the spring season earlier this week with a third-place finish at the 13-team Big Blue Invitational hosted by Tennessee State.

Sophomore Austin Schoonmaker of Springboro is No. 2 in the lineup. Redshirt freshman Bryce Haney (Huber Heights) is third, junior Mitch Lehigh (Gnadenhutten, Ohio) fourth and junior Alex Velasco (Centerville) fifth.

Freshman Cooper Jones (Centerville) will likely be the Raiders’ sixth man in their invitational.

“We’ve got a really strong team culture. They’re not afraid to work,” Arlinghaus said. “They’ve got a coach who’s super demanding, but in the long run, they want that structure.”

Rossi, who has averaged a team-best 73.8, started his college career playing for Arlinghaus at Miami University-Hamilton. Knowing his star wanted to compete in Division I, the coach talked Samborsky into allowing Rossi to join the Raiders.

Arlinghaus followed Rossi to Wright State one year later and has enjoyed watching him develop.

“He’s just an athlete,” Arlinghaus said. “It really doesn’t matter if it’s a cornhole bag, tennis racket, golf club, baseball bat — you give an athlete a stick and ball, and they’re going to find a way to beat you.

“Honestly, that’s a lot of what I look for in recruiting. I love to find the guy who’s baseball, lacrosse, football, basketball. Just give me an athlete, and I can teach him how to be a golfer. Obviously, they have to play some golf before they get here. But I can teach them to think around a golf course and how to be a champion.”

MEN’S BASKETBALL: Wright State is currently accepting $50 deposits from current and prospective season-ticket holders to reserve seats for 2018-19.

Fans making deposits before April 20 will receive a team photo and personalized message from coach Scott Nagy.

For info, call (937) 775-4934.

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