Elkers golf team kicks off season with win

Bob Parana - Staff Writer

It was as if a cloud lifted when Ridgway’s Eric Christoff teed off to open Monday’s match vs. Elk County Catholic at the Laurel Mill Golf Course. After so much uncertainty in this COVID era, a sense of normalcy filled the air when the Johnsonburg senior drilled the ball off the first tee in the Elkers 225-249 season-opening win.

“We’re happy to be out here getting to compete against another school. I’m really excited that we have the opportunity. We played OK. All the kids showed signs of being nervous but it was OK,” said Ridgway head coach Eric Herzing of his defending District 9 Class AA champion Elkers.

ECC head coach Denny Simons shared Herzing’s happiness. “It was great to have the kids out golfing and I think everybody had a good time and I thought they played well for the first match. Ridgway is a good team and they also played well,” he said.

Mark Kraus of the Crusaders was the medal winner with a round of 39. Christoff and Johnsonburg junior Collin Porter paced the Elkers with rounds of 41. Ridgway sophomore Logan Jordan shot a 46, J-Burg seniors Nolan Shaffer (48) and Sean Fitch (49) rounded out the Elkers scoring. Sophomore Kole Asti of Johnsonburg and Ridgway freshman Evan Gustafson also had 49’s. Johnsonburg sophomore Wyatt Shaffer (57) was also among the eight Elkers varsity players teeing off. Jack Bauer (44), Jordan DePrator (47), Conner Stebick (57), and Andrew Seltzer (59) figured in ECC scoring. Logan Karlik also golfed for the varsity.

Sophomore Eric Gustafson (43) and senior Cole Norlin (60) shot JV rounds for Ridgway.

“When you count five scores it’s good that we had contributions from eight of our golfers. We weren’t just relying on our top guys. Our top guys didn’t play their best but our bottom guys played their best. That’s team golf and we’re happy to walk out of here with a win. We'll see what happens from here,” Herzing said.
The Elkers will next play in Kane on Friday. “They have good golfers. Curt Barner I know for a fact is one of the better golfers in the area. Kane’s (Country Club) a tough course to play on and we don’t have that much experience there. We know it's going to be a tough match and we’re going to have to play a little better on the top end to go up there and have a chance to win,” the Elkers coach said of the upcoming match.

The Crusaders will be active for three of the next four days with a match today in Kane and then home matches at Leaning Pines Wednesday vs. St. Marys and Friday against Bradford.

“We take it one day at a time. We have a busy week. The kids are making strides. We’re practicing and hopefully, we’re going to get better,” Simons said.