Men?s golf team emerging as new coach shoots for title

Alyssa Huskinson

For the Sacramento State men’s golf team, their season has begun with a new assistant coach and a new attitude.

The men’s golf team finished last season tied for third place at the America Sky Golf Championship.

During the final round of the 54-hole event at the Los Lagos Golf Club, the Hornets shot 301 and finished with a total of 316-315-301-932.

After the 2009-10 season, Sac State golf director David Sutherland was named the America Sky Coach of the Year. Junior Grant Rappleye was one of the conference’s Tri-Players of the Year, first team and shared Player of the Year.

Senior Kyle Candlish and junior Jake Johnson joined Rappleye on the first team honor.

This summer, Sac State announced its new assistant men’s golf coach Christopher Hall. Hall’s duties as the Hornet’s coach will be assisting with day-to-day activities.

Not only does he have experience as a collegiate golf player, but he was also the volunteer assistant coach for two seasons at Fresno State.

“The team goals are to be a little more competitive as a group and individually – not just play golf, but to play better golf and win more tournaments,” Hall said.

The first tournament of the season took place at the Palouse Cougar Collegiate at Washington State University. The Hornets finished in 12th place as a team with a total of 286-295-293-874.

Rappleye shot 70-71-70-211 at the Palouse Cougar Collegiate to tie his career high. He now has the third-best 54-hole score in Sac State history.

“It feels good that I matched my best record as a Sac State player,” Rappleye said.

The 2009-10 team includes seven golfers, five of whom are returning players: senior Candish, junior Johnson, juniors Grant and Cameron Rappleye, and sophomore Jake Pineo.

New additions to the team include sophomore Jordan Swanson and freshman Jordan Weir.

“This year is a good year for us, we have three juniors so if they step up their game and start playing well this could be a good marking year for us in the years to come,” Hall said.

Hall will take wins as they come. One of Hall’s goals for the team to have a winning season and, in doing so, the Hornets hope to go to each tournament and try to play their best.

“Whatever the outcome is in our tournament play, it is what it is,” Hall said. “Conference – that’s the biggest tournament we’re planning on winning.”

As part of maintaining a cohesive group of players, Hall wants to get to know the players and learn how they work as individuals. Nonetheless, Hall hopes to exhibit a high level of commitment to the Hornets golf program.

“Certain things will work for individual players to get them motivated,” Hall said. “We want to work hard, but also keep it on the light side; we still want to have fun and laugh, to find the balance so we don’t get too intense. It’s a game. That’s what everyone has to remember.”

Hall plans to have more structured practices, incorporating what he has learned in school. This includes mental skills, which is learning how to get players to play at their peak performance.

“We’re trying to get things more structured and have more rules and regulations regarding mannerisms on the course,” Hall said.

As they continue to be self-motivated, whether they practice individually or have a team practice, they put their time and effort into practicing at least four hours a day. The team plays in only four tournaments in a short fall season, which is 144 days.

“They’re a good group of guys, they like to laugh and have a good time,” Hall said. “It doesn’t get too serious on the golf course too often, but the guys take their play serious.”

The Hornets upcoming tournament schedule includes the Wolfpack Classic at the University of Nevada at Edgewood Golf Course on Monday and Tuesday.

“For now, the team is flying under the radar,” Cameron Rappleye said. “We hope to change that by stepping up our play.”

Alyssa Huskinson can be reached at ahuskinson@statehornet.com