COLLEGE GOLF: Wranglers coming off successful seasons

Both the Odessa College men’s and women’s golf teams came away with top three finishes at nationals this year, giving first-year head coach Brad Stracke a lot to be optimistic about as he reflects on this season.

The men’s team came away with its fourth consecutive second-place finish while the Lady Wranglers finished a spot higher than last year at nationals.

The Odessa College men overcame a tough start in the first round to finish runner-up two weeks ago at the Rockwind Community Links in Hobbs, N.M.

The Wranglers ended the first day in a tie for 10th place before rallying back over the next three rounds.

Odessa College finished with a team score of 293-282-276-275—1126.

New Mexico Junior College finished just three strokes ahead of the Wranglers to win the program’s first national championship.

“They played pretty well,” Stracke said of his team. “The second, third and fourth rounds, we definitely played the best in the field and the last round, we came out strong. We just got beat by 10-under in the last round. We kept it really close, going to the final hole with the last two players.”

Odessa College managed to finish ahead of rivals Midland College which finished third with a team score of 284-292-275-279—1130.

“The guys played well from top to bottom,” Stracke said. “Corley McLernon came in strong in the fifth spot. Overall, I can’t complain. It was a great year. We finished the year strong. We won quite a few tournaments. We were pretty consistent. I don’t think you can ask for anything more.”

Adam Bresnu led the Wranglers and ended up placing tied for fourth as an individual with a score of 74-66-68-71—279.

Playing in their second season in existence, the Lady Wranglers made it back to the national tournament, finishing third as a team.

The Lady Wranglers competed at the Duran Golf Club in Melbourne, Fla., last week.

The team shot 302-301-303-313 to finish 51 over par while Daytona State ended up winning the national championship after finishing six-under par.

Seminole State took second.

“I thought they played pretty well in the first three rounds,” Stracke said of the Lady Wranglers. “I think that was about as good as we could play playing in Florida. It’s just different there. The grass is different. There’s a lot more water. The topography is just different than out here. The ball doesn’t travel as far so there were a lot of adjustments they had to make. In the first three rounds, I thought we played as well as we could. Daytona and Seminole were the better teams. We just need to learn from that and I think we will.”

As both teams look ahead toward next year, Stracke talked about how hard all the players worked this year.

“It was enjoyable to work with these two teams throughout the year,” Stracke said. “It was probably the most fun I’ve had coaching in 15 years. I enjoyed it. This was my first time working with a women’s team and they were excellent to work with. They were really smart and caught on to things quickly and wanted to learn and get better. That made it fun showing up to practice every day.”

Stracke came in from the University of North Texas last summer after former OC head coach Paul Chavez retired.

Stracke is looking forward to having a less stressful summer as preparations for next season soon get underway.

“This year will be a little different, having a summer off,” Stracke said. “I’m going to try and enjoy and have some vacation time and then get right back at it.”