by Lauren Karowski
The University of Tampa’s men’s golf team is in full swing. February was a busy month for the Spartans as they competed in three tournaments: The Titan Winter Invitational, The Spring Kick-Off Intercollegiate and the Saint Leo Invitational.
The team placed ninth overall in their spring opener, The Titan Winter Invitational, amongst 14 teams. This was senior Robert Montagnino’s third consecutive tournament as the team’s top performer.
The Spartans continued to heat up as they placed 14th out of 20 teams the following weekend at The Spring Kick-Off Intercollegiate, finishing with 936 strokes. Senior Nate Kosarich made his spring debut, finishing first amidst the team and 33rd overall in the tournament.
The team ended February strong, placing eighth at The Saint Leo Invitational where they took on several big opponents in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) such as Nova Southeastern (3), Palm Beach Atlantic (7) and Eckerd (10). Bringing his total to four tournaments this season, Montagnino was once again the Spartan’s top performer, placing 20th overall in the tournament.
“As a team we feel positive about the way we have played so far this season and are excited about the direction we’re going,” said senior Steve Cacchio. “The team as a whole is working on becoming more consistent and learning from previous mistakes when competing to improve our individual scores and overall teams success.”
The men’s team consists of nine players, eight of which are upperclassmen. The team attributes much of their success to the bond the players have formed, many of which playing together for the last three and four years.
“For me personally, growing up coming from more of a team sport like hockey, it’s been awesome to keep that team aspect alive and make friends that’ll last a lifetime,” said senior Nick DiMarco.
The UT men’s golf team has not taken home a NCAA National Championship since 1988, however the players are consistently working towards improving both as a team and individually.
“Some of our goals were to take areas of our game we felt were not our strongest and really work at making them better over the year and work on better preparation for our tournaments,” said junior Spencer Olson.
“A golfer never really has their ‘A game’ 100 percent of the time, so figuring out the best way to get the ball in the hole when things aren’t going the best is key,” said junior Hogan Bendert. “Being confident and athletic is what it comes down to. It’s all about the mindset.”
This is Gary Hilton’s first season as the head coach of the UT men’s team. He was previously the head coach for Albany State University and Darton State College. Hilton has been working hard to motivate and prepare the team for their upcoming tournaments.
“For motivation, Coach Hilton only takes the top five golfers to each event. This puts the golfers in an all or nothing mindset during qualifying,” said Bendert. “For preparation, we workout twice a week doing golf specific workouts, and have practice and qualifying throughout the week.”
The Spartan’s season will continue their season at the Battle at the Shores tournament, which will take place from Sunday-Tuesday, April 5-7. The tournament will be held in Miami, Florida and will lead up to the Sunshine State Conference Championships in Germantown, Tennessee. The SSC Championships will be held from Saturday-Tuesday, April 18-21. The team will then take on the NCAA Super South Regional from Sunday-Wednesday, May 3-6, ending with the NCAA Championships set to start on Wednesday, May 13.
Lauren Karowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org