GNADENHUTTEN -- A pair of first-year coaches got the 2013 Indian Valley High golf seasons underway earlier this month. Aaron Hreha and Harry Huggins will be directing the boys' and girls' teams, respectively.
Hreha (pronounced Ray-ah) inherits a program which has set a high bar for success recently, having been a Division II District qualifier last fall.
The Braves lost just two golfers to graduation -- Brett Penick and Jamie MacAdam, but both were 2012 mainstays.
Returning, however, are four veteran letterwinners with impressive credentials.
The program's lone junior is Mitchell Lehigh, who posted a 37-stroke average a year ago. The only senior, Shawn Mills, was nearly as impressive, averaging 39 last fall.
The other pair of returnees are sophomores Jadan Hartzler and Brett Rentsch, who will seek to better their 2012 averages of 43 and 45, respectively.
Currently, two freshmen -- Jarrett Helter and Dakota Schandel -- along with sophomore Hunter Host are battling for the fifth scoring spot on the varsity.
So far, Hreha likes what he has seen.
"We have four returning letterwinners who have district experience." he began. "Our expectations are high because of our leadership and our work ethic.
"The kids have lofty goals. Although Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy and Tusky Valley have strong programs, we feel we can compete for the PAC (Principals' Athletic Conference) title as well as a deep post-season run."
The remainder of the Braves' roster includes soph Noah Shaw and freshmen Nathan Brown, Andrew Clum, Andrew Gazdik, James Metzger, Nathan Stratton and Brendan Swaney.
River Greens is again the Braves' home course.
While the numbers in the Lady Braves' golf program are smaller, the 2013 squad will boast one of eastern Ohio's best in Kelli Carroll. The junior played as an individual two seasons ago, then was a mainstay on the IV girls' team last season. She and fellow junior Amber Ruscin played in numerous tourneys this past summer and posted some good finishes.
Another pair of 11th graders -- Kara Barger and Andrea Hamilton -- join senior Amanda Jones to round out the Lady Braves' team.
Only Eckert was lost to graduation.
"We feel we have one of the area's best players in Kelli," said Huggins. "All the other players have shown a willingness to practice and work at the game. With more practice and improvement, we could be competitive with the teams on our schedule."
That schedule is not a PAC schedule as the league does not sponsor girls golf yet, so the '13 slate of foes consists of fairly local schools which have girls' golf programs, such as Sandy Valley, Strasburg and New Philly.
Green Valley will be the home course for the Lady Braves this fall.
Directing the boys' and girls' junior high program is Jason Cappel.