NORFOLK, Neb. – The Northeast Community College men's golf team will turn to its freshman class to lead the way to the national tournament in 2019.
Boasting just two sophomores in Mason Stubbs (Randolph, Neb.) and Dylan Lilienthal (Lincoln, Neb.), head coach Kurt Pytleski believes his team has the right chemistry to make a strong run in the month of May to the NJCAA DII Men's National Golf Tournament at Swan Lake Golf Resort in Plymouth, Ind.
"I expect the Northeast Community College men's golf team to be very competitive this spring," Pytleski said. "We have the ability to place in every tournament we enter and should have a great opportunity in our regional tournament to place in the top-3 as a team which would allow us to go to the national tournament. We have to play well, but I really believe we have the ability to achieve this goal."
From a leadership standpoint, Stubbs and Lilienthal have the opportunity to guide six freshmen throughout the season. One of those freshman, Matthew Schaefer (Fordyce, Neb.) has been a proven asset to the team in just his first year. He finished in a tie for first place at the Midland Fall Invite, while finishing in the top-10 on four different occasions. Schaefer broke six individual records so far at Northeast, while shooting an average score of 75. He recently signed a letter of intent to continue his academic and athletic career at NCAA DI South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D.
"We are a very young team with only two sophomores playing this spring," Pytleski added. "I will be looking for Mason Stubbs, one of our retuning sophomores to provide leadership to our talented group of freshmen."
Other freshmen that will look to make an immediate impact are: Hunter Deines (Cairo, Neb.), Matthew Kingston (Springfield, Neb.) and Grant Sell (Gothenburg, Neb.). John Lapour (Omaha, Neb.) and Dawson Sundsted (Spearfish, S.D.) will add valuable depth to the team throughout the season.
Deines joins the Hawks from Ravenna High School where he was a 2018 state qualifier and was a third-place finisher at the 2017 state golf tournament. He was an All-Conference First Team selection in 2017 and 2018.
Kingston was a multi-sport athlete at Platteview High School, excelling in golf and basketball. He was a four-year letterwinner in golf and was a 2018 state golf medalist. He qualified for state as a junior and senior and took first-place at Crooked Creek Golf Course.
Sell prepped at Gothenburg High School where he was a four-year starter and letterwinner on the greens.
"This team gets along very well together and are a fun group to be around," Pytleski said. "They work hard in the weight room and are hitting balls every day in our simulator this winter to get better."
The Hawks' season kicks-off at the Midland Invitational at 1 p.m. on March 25 at the Fremont Country Club in Fremont, Neb. They will also compete in the Blue River Classic, Midland Invite, the Region XI Preview and the Iowa Central Spring Invitational before hosting the Northeast Community College Triangular on April 22 at the Norfolk Country Club.
Northeast will also travel to Beatrice, Neb., to compete in the Southeast Community College Invitational before heading to the Veenker Memorial Golf Course on May 4 and 5 to play in the Region XI Tournament in hopes of qualifying for the national tournament that is slated to begin on May 21.
"This team is doing more than what I am asking them to do and as a coach you can't ask much more than that."
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