Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Vikings poised for big year

Villa Angela-St. Joseph golf coach John Iosue isn’t a fortune teller, but he firmly believes there could be a long trip down south for the Vikings later this fall.

“I think this team has the skill and we are developing the depth that if things go right and we perform like I know the guys are capable, I really think they have what it to takes to make it to the state tournament in Columbus,” Iosue said.

This isn’t unfounded optimism by Iosue, this is a realistic goal set by the coach based on what he saw last year and the improvements made as 2014 gets started.

Seniors Adam Keyse and Jeff Grudzinski – both four-year lettermen – are a formidable 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup for VASJ. Keyse is off to a hot start this fall, as in five tournaments this season, he has be in the top 10 twice highlighted by a fourth place finish in the Simonson Invitational at Barberton Golf Club in Ashland and a third in the Hillsdale Invitational. Grudzinski was sixth in the Simonson Invitational and also finished just outside top ten in the Hillsdale Invitational at 11.

Sophomore Noah Newlon continues to show great improvement for a young player and could establish himself as the Vikings’ No. 3 player behind Keyse and Grudzinski.

Anthony Turk and Brendon O’Donnell are talented juniors who will be counted out to score for VASJ. Jalen Cruz and Adam Stauffer are promising freshmen who could contribute by the time the postseason rolls around if not much sooner.

Iosue said the team is very competitive, even in practice, and that competitive nature will help as the season progresses and the Vikings contend for the NCL White championship. VASJ defeated Benedictine and St. Thomas Aquinas to start 2-0 in the league early in August.

At the Simonson Invitational, VASJ finished fourth out of 22 teams with a score of 334 – a total Iosue believes is the lowest since he has been coach of the Vikings.

Now, staying healthy, developing depth, gaining confidence and finding consistency is the key moving forward to maintain a very strong August start.

“We want to contend for the league championship, but I think getting out of districts and making it to Columbus is a possibility with this group,” Iosue said. “The key is consistency. These guys all have natural talent, but the key is to go out and hit a good shot every time they swing. Focus on hitting the ball solid every time and the low scores will come.”


Steve Hare
Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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