Alpena High School golf to see and train new teammates

ALPENA — Ending an incredible 2023 season where the Alpena High boys’ golf team qualified and competed in states, the team is almost entirely different, with an altered level of expectations.

Previously, the expectations were sky-high, but only retaining two golfers leaves the Wildcats looking to stay competitive while developing the next class of athletes.

“The precedent has been set for what our team can do,” Alpena coach Tate Skiba said. “So, the expectation this year is to see if we can continue to build upon the success that we’ve had in the past. We’ve proven that we can do it, and I hope we can do it again.”

Last season, the team was led by various seniors, including Gavin Hamp, Easton Schultz, and Anden Marceau, who all contributed heavily to the performance.

Another player, junior Harrison Kaszubowski, will not return to the team because he no longer attends Alpena High School.

With the departure of last year’s four best golfers, new, inexperienced varsity players will need to rise to the challenge if the Wildcats want to compete within the Big North Conference.

“Those guys are huge losses, but we have the largest group of kids to play this year since I’ve been coaching here. We have 23 guys, meaning that our sport and team is growing,” Skiba said. “Out of those 23 guys, all of them want to compete and will fight for the leftover spots currently open.”

As little experience remains on the team, Alpena’s three returning players must be critical leaders and performers on the course all year.

Seniors Bryce Moe and Avery Spicer will be expected to lead the way because they know what it takes to play on par with the top golfers in the state.

Junior Preston Schuldt also has varsity experience and should be a solid contributor again.

“We’ve got three guys with varsity experience, and they are gonna be some of the leaders of this team. As many players join the varsity team, they are expected to lead the herd and show them how to compete,” Skiba said.

Because the team has immensely changed from last year, Skiba’s expectations for BNC competition are still in the air.

Winning as much as possible is the goal, but compared to the talent stacked within the conference, Alpena will have to play its best golf when facing off against the BNC.

Starting the season over in Traverse City Central, the Wildcats must keep the strokes as low as possible in a competitive competition.

“The BNC is a super tough conference that always sends teams to states, and in the end, it’s good for us to compete with those teams,” Skiba said. “I think that these guys have the ability to compete with some of the best teams in the state. We’ll just have to see how it goes.”


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