GALION — Galion golf coach Bryce Lehman thinks his program can keep the beat alive this season.
The Tigers are riding a wave of four consecutive Mid Ohio Athletic Conference boys golf championships and four consecutive OHSAA state tournament appearances. Also intact entering this season is a 53-match winning streak in MOAC play. “The Streak” began on Sept. 16, 2016.
The Tigers were sectional and district champions a year ago and reached the state tournament for the seventh time in program history.
Lehman, who has directed Galion to an 83-42 record in his 10 seasons as head coach at Galion, expects his Tigers to be in the mix again in the MOAC in 2021.
“Should be another exciting season. We should contend for a conference title along with Marion Pleasant,” Lehman said.
That optimism is strong despite the loss of three marquee players from the 2020 squad. Spencer Keller, Matthew McMullen, and Bronson Dalenberg were part of the Galion program’s great success in recent years. All three graduated in the spring and all three are continuing their golf careers at the collegiate level.
Keller, the MOAC and Northwest District player of the year in 2020, signed a letter of intent to play at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
McMullen was a first-team All-MOAC and first-team All-Northwest District performer as a senior. He’s continuing his golf career closer to home at Ashland University.
Dalenberg was an honorable mention in the Northwest District and is heading to Ohio Valley University in Vienna, West Virginia, to play golf.
Even with all of that talent gone, the cupboard isn’t bare.
Lehman welcomes back four players whom he said will each make an impact this season. Senior Max Longwell, juniors Nick McMullen and Nate Barre, and sophomore Logan Keller will be keys to success in 2021, Lehman said.
McMullen was a first-team performer in 2020 and placed seventh in the MOAC tournament. Longwell was honorable mention All-MOAC and finished 19th in the the conference tournament in 2020.
Keller was the Heart of Ohio Junior Golf Association’s player of the year and scoring average leader in the 13-15 age group this summer. He won three HOJGA tournament championships and placed in the top five in four other events in 2021.
A pair of sophomores and a pair of freshmen could also make an impact for the Tigers this season, Lehman noted. Sophomores Braylen Hart and Gavin Crim and freshmen Nate McMullen and Carson Walker are all talented young players.
Senior Ethan Thomas and freshman Jaxson Manley are also part of the Tigers roster this season.
Lehman’s optimism hasn’t been misplaced thus far in 2021. His Tigers won three invitational tournaments in the first week of the season, picking up first-place trophies from the Bucyrus Elks Invitational, Clear Fork’s Colt Classic, and their own Galion Invitational.
Barre won the match medal at the Colt Classic, shooting 73. Keller was the match medalist at the Bucyrus Elks Invitational, carding a round of 75.
Lehman’s assistant coaches this season are Justin McMullen (varsity, junior varsity, junior high), Thomas Fox, and Ty Jackson (both junior high).
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