Rochelle News-Leader | Golf: key to senior management as Hubs resume operations

ROCHELLE — Rochelle Township High School’s golf team kicked off the 2022 season on Tuesday morning, holding its first practice at Fairways Golf Course. The Hubs, who have several top class men returning, are looking to improve on a winless 2021 campaign.

“I’m thrilled we’ve got a lot of senior leadership this season,” head coach Glen Mehrings said. “I was in contact with a lot of guys throughout the summer and they played a lot of golf during that time. We will have varsity positions to fill and I know we will have new players and returning players who can fill those roles. We have a good group of kids who are strong and athletic. They have good attitudes and I think they will mix well.

The Hubs will take on Dixon and Freeport on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at Park Hills Golf Course in their first non-conference game of the season. Rochelle’s home opener will be a non-conference meeting against Mendota and Amboy on Thursday, August 25. The Hubs will begin Interstate 8 Conference competition with a road game against the LaSalle-Peru Cavaliers on Tuesday, August 30.

“We tend to struggle early in the season because we have a lot of players who have only played locally,” Mehrings said. “It can be hard to adapt, but I know a few of our players have been in tournaments over the summer, so hopefully our short game and putting strokes will carry over to the other courses.” Many young players lose shots this way and it usually takes a few weeks for kids to build up their confidence around the greens.

Among Rochelle’s returning varsity players are seniors Griffin Ohlinger and Damen Harrington, who played in the No. 1 and No. 2 varsity spots last season. Senior Wade Smith gained college experience last season, while rookie Ian Metzger, who won the Ogle County Junior Open earlier this summer, could have an immediate impact on the varsity team. The Hubs will have two newcomers to the mix, including senior David Wanner and junior Parker Lenkaitis.

“Griffin and Damen playing hard will be huge for us,” Mehrings said. “I would like to see us shoot between 160 and 170 this season. We struggled to score close to that range last season, but we can be competitive in almost all of our games this season if we can score within that range… We don’t have a lot of home games, it will be so important for us to play well on the road in our tournaments and in the conference. I would like us to end with a winning record.

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