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Published: Wednesday, 10/17/2007

Owens golfers victorious in 6 of 9 fall tournaments

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The Owens Community College golf team followed up a solid spring season by winning nearly every tournament it entered this fall.

The eight-man Express golf team won six of the nine events it competed in this fall. Bowsher graduate Adam Crisp, Jason Smith of Anthony Wayne High School, James Bell (Rossford), and Joey Bussdieker (Monroe) all took home medalist honors at an invitational this fall.

"What I like about this team is that if it's not one guy, it is someone else who steps up," Owens head coach Gil Guerrero said. "All the guys can play well. We have eight guys that can shoot a number at any time."

Overall, the Express finished with a 55-6 record.

"It was a pretty good fall for us," Guerrero said.

Freshman Andrew Biggert (Oak Harbor), freshman Benjamin DeArmond (Bedford), sophomore Chris Hummer (Start), and freshman Jacob Williams (Fostoria St. Wendelin) round out the Express lineup.

Smith finished with the lowest average on the team (74.96). The sophomore shared first place with Bell at the Urbana Invitational on Sept. 14. Owens won the event by 10 strokes.

"Jason's a second-year guy who also finished second in a few tournaments," Guerrero said. "He shot 66 this fall and had a couple of others in the 60s."

Bell also played consistently, staying in the low to mid 70s. The freshman finished with a 76.32 average.

"He's a very good talent," Guerrero said.

Crisp, who was second on the team with a 75.12 average, opened the season with a win at the Links Invitational on Sept. 9. Crisp, a freshman, carded a 74 to help the Express also finish first as a team.

"Things have worked out very well for him," Guerrero said.

Bussdieker took home the title at the Lakeland Invitational on Sept. 29. His 69 led the Express to a 10-stroke win over Lake Erie College.

The sophomore also shot a 73 at the team's host event that wrapped up the season on Oct. 8. The Express won the Owens Invitational at Belmont Country Club.

Last spring, Bussdieker qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association national championships and earned honorable mention All-American honors by finishing 13th.

"He's one of our top holdovers from the spring," Guerrero said.

In the spring, the Express captured nine titles, including a first-place finish in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference Invitational. The team also set the record for the lowest round in OCCAC history, shooting a four-player score of 284.

The Express also finished third at the NJCAA Region XII Championships. The postseason events are only held in the spring.

Guerrero, who is in his third season at Owens, said one of the primary goals of the program is to help the players earn scholarships to four-year universities.

"I like helping the kids," Guerrero said. "It's really been fun working with their swings and managing their games and learning to get through life, too. It's a great situation."

Guerrero said the golf program covers the cost of tuition and books through scholarships to eight golfers each season. Guerrero had 26 golfers try out this fall.

"They can build up their resume here," he said. "The first thing we stress is academics. We try to help them be successful in all aspects."

Guerrero, who coached golf at Start High School from 1985-2005 and is still the boys basketball coach there, is the teaching golf professional at Detwiler Golf Course.

He said Hummer, who he coached at Start, is a good example of a local golfer who continues to achieve after high school. Hummer finished with a 77.04 average. "He's a guy who worked on his game, tried out, and ended up getting a scholarship," Guerrero said.

In his first year at the helm, Guerrero led the program to its first ever OCCAC title and was named Coach of the Year in the conference. The Express reached the regional tournament finishing third.

"I go out and recruit and try to find guys who will fit in with the team and with the program," Guerrero said. "We have a good nucleus and chemistry with this team."

Contact Mark Monroe at:

mmonroe@theblade.com

or 419-724-6354.



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