MITCH RIPORTELLA | Staff Reporter
Butler’s men and women’s golf teams are gearing up for the start of the 2014 season this week, with their first competitions being held over Spring Break.
This will be both teams’ first season in the Big East, with the men moving over from the Atlantic Ten Conference and the women from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
The Butler men’s team will kick its season off March 10 in Jacksonville, Fla., for the Benbow Invitational, a 14-team, two-day tournament.
The Bulldogs have been hard at work preparing over the offseason. Since the end of October, the team has been doing offseason work two times a week, running and doing core work.
“We just do things to get us in shape, and keep us in shape,” said sophomore Logan McBride.
He said the team has been hitting both the weights and exercise balls.
“We’ve started going pretty hard in practice,” McBride said. “A lot of putting, a lot of short game, just making sure we don’t go out there and embarrass ourselves.”
Coming off what McBride called a “disappointing” 2013 season, Butler will look to improve on its lackluster tournament play.
“We have a lot of potential. We have a lot of talent,” McBride said. “We’re going in with a super positive attitude. We’ve put in the work, and I think it’s really going to pay off come tournament time.”
Butler will play without Andrew Wegeng and Colin Reenan, who were seniors last year, and had the teams top two scoring averages.
The Bulldogs will look for juniors Andrew Eiler and Logan Holt to fill the shoes of departing seniors.
The women’s golf team will also travel to Jacksonville to play in the Benbow Invitational March 10.
The 2013 MAAC champions will look to carry their success into the Big East.
Key returnees for the Bulldogs include junior Isabella Lambert, who led the team with a 78.5 average last year, and junior Jenna Peters, who closely followed Lambert with a 79 average.
The team had a good showing in the fall, placing in the top three in three of four tournaments. Led by coach Bill Mattingly, who also coaches the men’s team, the relatively young roster will feature three freshman and three sophomores.
Both the men and women’s teams also compete on March 12 in Jacksonville in the Bulldog Florida Invitational.