Seniors spark Buffs to stellar golf campaign

By Matt Hill

   Senior leadership is the key to success in collegiate sports a lot of times, and that's exactly what led the way for the Milligan College men's golf team this spring.
   Milligan's five seniors were instrumental in the Buffs' successful campaign in 2003, a year that saw the team finish second at the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament in April.
   Those five seniors, Blake Stewart, Jesse Boyd, Todd Muncey, Jeremy Hensley and Mike Hall, all helped lead one of the best teams in school history.
   "They've done a good job in the four years they've been with us," Milligan golf coach Tony Wallingford said. "They had finished as high as runner-up in the conference tournament in 2000. They came on and actually led after the first 36 holes this year, but just couldn't hang on and finished as runner-up."
   The team proved it will be remembered by making some history at the conference tournament.
   "In one of our rounds, we did establish a new school record with a 306 for a four-man 18-hole score," Wallingford said. "It was a good season."
   Though the seniors played a huge role in the success, junior Michael Morrell also came up big for the Buffaloes.
   The former Elizabethton High standout and current star on the Buffs basketball team joined Stewart on the all-conference squad.
   "Michael had an excellent tournament over here at the conference," Wallingford said. "He finished in the top ten and made all-conference. He really hasn't played that much golf throughout the summers. He's mostly been concentrating on basketball. But he does play a little bit in the fall season, and that kind of gets him ready for spring. He's just a natural athlete."
   Morrell will return next year along with standout Nelson Caudell and a host of freshmen.
   Johnson County standout Matt Cornett, Elizabethton High School star Daniel Sochalski, Matt Ongie, Matt Bearfoot and Ryan Morris head up a strong freshman class for Milligan..
   Joining the freshmen will be Aaron Jessee, who is transferring from Radford.
   Wallingford is very excited about Cornett coming on board.
   "He's got a lot of talent and a lot of skill," Wallingford said of Cornett, who is also going to play basketball for him. "I think he will do well here."
   Wallingford feels Sochalski should also contribute right away for the Buffs.
   "He's got a lot of potential, and we're looking forward to working with him," Wallingford said. "He's a good kid and a hard worker. Daniel plays and practices all the time."
   While the freshman class is strong, Wallingford will definitely miss his seniors and what they're about.
   "They were a great group of guys to work with," he said. "All five that came in together graduated. They were hard workers. I would give them instructions for qualifiers and practice rounds, and they got it done."