by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
With a new season, a new coach and several underclassmen, it would be easy to think the goals would be modest for the Hudson boys golf coach.
Pardon first-year head coach Dave Kurtz if that's not his style.
"We're hoping to reach Columbus," he said.
Columbus happens to be the site of the Division I state boys golf tournament.
The Explorers have not reached that destination since 2004.
"On any given day, we can beat anybody," the coach said. "We respect everybody, but we don't fear anyone."
Kurtz joins the team after Hudson finished third in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division.
The Explorers, who finished ninth at the 19-team Explorer Invitational Aug. 7 at the Country Club of Hudson in their season debut, went 5-5 against Valley Division opponents and placed second in the Valley Division tournament. Other teams in the Valley Division are Brunswick, Stow-Munroe Falls, Medina, North Royalton and Strongsville.
The Hudson boys golf team finished sixth with a 322 at the 19-team Explorer Invitational Aug. 7 at the Country Club of Hudson.
Hudson also finished third in Division I sectional play and seventh in district play.
And the Explorers did all this despite having four freshmen in the starting lineup. All four of those players are back this year.
Hudson's lone loss was 2014 graduate Kevin Kubik, who had a scoring average of 80 last year.
Kurtz, who teaches advanced placement calculus at Hudson High School, worked as an assistant coach with the Hudson girls golf team back in the 2000s. He has been teaching at Hudson High School for the last 14 years.
Kurtz takes over for Jeff Camp Jr., who resigned after the 2013 season to become the head coach of the women's golf team at John Carroll University in University Heights.
Last year, Brunswick won the Valley Division title. Not surprisingly, Kurtz likes his team's chances to unseat Brunswick in 2014.
"We should be pretty solid," he said. "Most of the teams that were better than us graduated quite a few players."
The Explorers' top player from last year is the head coach's son, Will Kurtz. The left-handed hitting sophomore had a team-leading 76.7 scoring average in 2013.
"Last year, Will's average was right there with the best ever for a freshman at Hudson," the coach said. "He has had a really good spring and summer season. He has played 11 tournaments and has won two of them and has placed in the top 10 in three or four other tournaments."
Dave Sexton, another left-handed sophomore, had a scoring average of 82.5 in 2013.
"Dave had a really nice summer," the coach said. "He probably has improved the most. He has become more consistent."
Sophomore left-handers Nolan Laughlin and Johnny Merrill had an average score of 87 last year.
"Nolan has played a lot of baseball, but he also has worked on his golf game during the summer," the coach said. "Johnny has improved quite a bit."
The lone right-hander on the varsity team is junior Alex Remmers, who played for the junior varsity team in 2013. Also on varsity is Andrew Schulman, a senior left-hander who played on the JV squad.
The JV squad, which is led by head coach Tucker Bethem, features sophomore Jake Marous, Connor Linx, Davey Spitz and Ian Tallman; and freshmen Kevin Mattix, Ryan Novosel, Tyler Golphin and Connor's younger brother, Mason Linx.
Dave Kurtz know his team can produce some formidable scores. He just hopes his players don't try to do too much.
"We should be fine if we play to our abilities," the coach said. "They don't need to be spectacular. They just need to play to their averages and we should be able to hang with any team in the area."
Sexton earned medalist honors after a scorecard playoff. He shot a 74 to lead the way.
Kurtz was next for the Explorers with a 77. Rounding out the top four for Hudson were Merrill (84) and Laughlin (87).
Hudson's JV squad finished sixth at the 12-team University School Invitational Aug. 6 at Madison Country Club.
Marous led the way with an 89. Rounding out the top four were Connor Linx (91), Mattix (91) and (97).
Hudson is scheduled to visit Silver Lake Country Club for the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy Invitational Aug. 11 at 8:30 a.m.
They are set to visit Shale Creek Golf Course in Medina for the Medina Invitational Aug. 13 at 7:30 a.m.