WEST LAFAYETTE -- Veteran coach Lester McCurdy switches sports this year as he takes over the Ridgewood High boys' golf team this season, after last year guiding the Generals' cross country team.
McCurdy will welcome back a total of four lettermen for this season including a pair of seniors in Nathan Hoffman and Wesley Cochran.
Junior Sam Bucher and sophomore Nick Blakley round out the returning lettermen for the Orange and Black.
In the early going, it's Blakley who has emerged as McCurdy's number one golfer.
"Nick has got a real good skill set in golf," McCurdy said. "With him being so young, he's just got to work on the mental part of the game. Thus far, I'm seeing a big improvement and he's playing really well."
Taking a real leadership role for the young Ridgewood team has been Hoffman, who according to McCurdy has been a real steadying influence for his younger golfers.
"Nathan has been doing a real good job of helping out the younger guys," McCurdy explained. "He's gone out of his way to be real helpful with them, and he's put together some nice holes himself so far."
The surprise thus far has been a young newcomer in freshman Brice Dennis, who has grabbed the Generals' number two position.
"Brice spent a lot of time over the summer working on his game. He played in a lot of tournaments and got some valuable experience," McCurdy said. "He really put a lot of work in and it shows on the course. I really like the way he's playing right now."
Rounding out the Generals' roster are seniors Kody Dreher and Jake Pollack; sophomores Jared Norman, Bobby Cowdery and Christian Lippencott and freshman Jacob LaVigne.
"In our qualifying play for varsity, there was only a 1.5 stroke difference between the number one and five spots," McCurdy said. "When we figure out how to deal with the ups and downs of golf, then we will be a successful team. Until then, I think our depth will allow us to stay in a lot of matches."
McCurdy points to Garaway as the team to watch in the Inter-Valley Conference this year.
"I think Garaway is the favortie going into the IVC this year," the RHS coach said. "If we reach our potential, I feel we can compete to grab second or third in the league this season."
River Greens Golf Course serves as Ridgewood's home course again this year.