North Central Men’s Golf is back on course

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North Central Men’s Golf begin season with a welcome surprise

In addition to taking over the women’s golf team for the 2022/23 school year, 2011 North Central alumna Alyssa Guss is now also the coach of the men’s team. Her hiring required adjustments both from her, after having coached only women previously at the collegiate level, and the players, for whom Guss’ introduction in the weeks leading up to the season was unexpected but welcome.

“So at Oakland the last eight years, we worked hand in hand, our guys and our women’s teams,” Guss said of her time at Oakland University. “So it was kind of, you know, I got to see a little bit of what men do and how they act and the difference there. And they’re definitely more aggressive players and I think you kind of have to make everything seem like it was their idea to make them want to follow suit. We had a good group of guys that wanted to listen, wanted to get better, wanted to improve, and that was pretty cool to see. So they actually listened to myself and our other coaches on staff of wanting to take in all the information they could.”

“Right away I knew it was going to be a completely different vibe from the year before,” said sophomore Cole Martin. “There wasn’t a ton of structure, and I think right away we knew it was going to be a lot better and everyone’s going to improve a lot more under Coach Guss.”

“So I would say before the season started, I think that everybody was a little lost as to, you know, what was actually going to happen,” junior Mitch Boryszewski said.  “And then it turned out to work out great, obviously. I remember I wanted to make a good first impression knowing how successful she was and had a good career here and knew that that was going to be a little bit of a shift in gears, I would say, which was great.”

Guss leads team to gradual individual and team improvement

On both and individual and team level, the Cardinals saw consistent improvement over the course of the fall then spring halves of the season. At the CCIW Championship, the team turned in their best team score of the year in the first round before beating that mark on day three, and all five players shot in the 70’s at least once over the three days. Martin and freshman Elias Finazzo led the way finishing tied for 20th individually, as the team tied for 5th for their best finish in four years.

“So the first few weeks getting used to the fact that everything wasn’t as structured as I thought it was going to be,” said Guss. “So kind of shifting, adjusting on the player side, on my side. And we then started getting rolling with more team practices, showing up, disciplined practices of what our drills are going to be, our skills, our competitions, and just a purpose to our practice.”

“I think obviously I would attribute that towards coach and GA Cole [Elmore] as well, just kind of putting us in the right mindset of what we actually have to do in order to improve and giving us the structure for it,” said Boryszewski. “It was laid out perfectly for us, so that’s all we had to do was kind of just put the work in and we would see the results.”

“Once we started playing better, I think everyone kind of knew it was due to us working harder, better practice plans,” Martin said. “And it definitely showed like right away that if we work harder and with more structure, it’s going to pay off right away. And everybody, it brought the mood up of the team a lot because we were playing better and we all wanted to work harder because of it.”

“I think they bought in,” Guss said of what she saw change. “And so in the offseason, seeing them show up on the days they had practice and then the days that they didn’t have to be there, they still showed up. And so I think it was a lot on them. On wanting to be better and wanting to improve, on wanting to show up at practices, to show up for one another. And so I think that’s what I would say I attribute, or they should attribute, their success to.”

Renewed confidence for the future

There is far less uncertainty for Cardinal’s men’s golf going into next season, having built a new foundation under Guss’ leadership for continued improvement. Every player who competed for the team this spring will return next year, and the confusion and uneasiness that they arrived last fall with will be replaced by excitement and confidence when they return in August.

“In the spring it was amazing how different that was and how much they already started managing the course better, managing mistakes better,” Guss said. “And I think seeing them buy into the process and what they’re doing, it’s only going to continue to get better where instead of one double or two doubles that round, we can go without. And you know, we even had some players do that and eliminating three putts and those little things that we can work on to improve because you’re not always going to ball strike it while you’re not always going to short game it well, but we can try and be better at every aspect.”

“Obviously, we took great strides, but I think we’re just getting started,” said Boryszewski. “I think that this was like a very good learning experience for a lot of us. I think that we’re just going to keep going more and more in the right direction. I don’t think that that was all that we had necessarily as a team, but it was what we needed, obviously, to do to take our steps in the right direction.”

“It’s really motivating to finally kind of break through a little bit,” said Martin. “And yeah, I still feel like myself and the team, we left a lot of strokes out there, so it’s really encouraging going into next year.”