GNADENHUTTEN--Second-year coach Kevin Krysty's eyes light up when he talks about the 2012 golf prospects at Indian Valley High.
"Our program has really made progress over the past couple of seasons," he commented. "Last season, we finished third in the PAC after being a league doormat previously."
Currently, Krysty's roster includes 15 golfers, with representation fairly evenly distributed among the grade levels.
The senior class has three golfers, headed by returning letterwinner Bret Penick. Joining him from that class are Cory Chrisman and Jamie McAdams.
Five juniors are on the Braves' roster, led by Shawn Mills, who is not only a returning letterwinner, but was last fall's co-MVP of the PAC.
Joining Mills from the junior class are Chad Strain, Tyler Mattison, Brandon English and Tyler McKelvey.
Returning letterman Mitchell Leigh leads the sophomore class, joined by Sam Bear and Quinton Vickers.
Freshmen Jadan Hartzler, Hunter Host, Noah Shaw and Brett Rentsch round out the Braves' roster.
A former PGA teaching professional, Krysty (last year's PAC golf coach of the year) feels he brings a teaching advantage to his program.
"I definitely work with the kids to improve their games," he said, "and have actually given lessons to a few of them.
"Right now, we are stressing the thinking parts of the game, such as course management," Krysty continued. "I am also working with them to improve their respective short games. They are beginning to understand that chipping, scrambling and putting are the keys to scoring."
Krysty feels that his squad can challenge for the top spot in this fall's PAC title chase.
"We'll have a potentially strong, three player nucleus, so we need to develop another pair of consistent players," he said. "CVCA (Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) should be the team to beat for the league title. I think we can get out of the sectional as a team this year. We missed by just a few strokes last fall."
Once again, the Braves will play their home matches at River Greens Golf Course in West Lafayette. The 2012 schedule is pretty similar to last year's, although there will be three PAC Invitationals this fall, up from the two of last season.
The Braves lost five golfers to graduation. Brennan Rentsch, who will be playing at Walsh College, along with Mitchell Kennedy, Alex Cotsmire, Chase Gibson and Nick Beachy.
A full junior high squad is also practicing under the direction of Jason Cappel.