The golf team is ready to tee up another season with a great opportunity to defend last year’s league championship.
Returning for the Leopards in 2009 is senior Rizal Amin, the two-time All American and 2008 co-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
Playing alongside Amin will be 2008 first team All SCIAC players Mitch Fedorka and Andrew Kramer, as well as Kevin Smith, the 2008 SCIAC Freshman Player of the Year.
The 2008 SCIAC champions placed ninth in the NCAA championships last year and hope to use that experience throughout the 2009 season.
Conference foe Redlands finished second in last year’s NCAA championships and will prove to be a worthy challenge within the division.
“As long as we stay consistent we have the ability to win,” Fedorka said.
“We need to take it one tournament at a time and go out and do our best,” Kramer said.
After the retirement of long-time head coach Rex Huigens, the Leopards will play under a new head coach, La Verne alumnus Joe Skovron.
Skovron was an All American in 2001 and 2004, as well as the 2001 SCIAC Player of the Year. He will now replace the coach he used to play for.
“It’s important that I understand the pride that Rex brought to the program,” Skovron said. “ We are going to try and build on what our players do well and try and make these guys better.”
“He (Skovron) relates to us well and brings a new vibe to the program,” Fedorka said.
The Leopards placed fifth in the Cal State San Marcos Invitational at San Luis Rey Downs Country Club last week with a total score of 623. Kramer led the Leopards with a total score of 146 (74-72).
“The conditions were tough, but I think it was a good start to the season,” Kramer said.
“We beat all the Division III teams including all teams within the SCIAC so that will help out in the standings,” Skovron said. “It was our first tournament, so I thought we were still shaking off the competitive rust.”
That rust seems to be falling away, as the Leopards won the first SCIAC Tournament on Tuesday with a score of 292. Fedorka led the team with a low score of 70 (37-33).
Redlands finished second, shooting 295.
Kevin Garrity can be reached at email@example.com.