The expectations are always high for the Odessa College men’s golf team.
This upcoming spring, the Wranglers have an abundance of talent with five returning sophomores and five incoming freshmen.
Odessa College begins its campaign at the Cactus Thaw Invitational at El Paso’s Lone Star Golf Club on Sunday.
The Wranglers have the potential to do big things this season.
“We always have high expectations. Our goal is to always win a national championship,” Odessa College head coach Paul Chavez said. “We do have an abundance of talent.
“We do have kids that can play some great golf. It’s just a matter if we can put it together at the right time.”
One key returner for the Wranglers is Tripp Wallace, who has already inked with Kansas State. Wallace earned Western Junior College Athletic Conference Player of the Week honors in October after finishing tied for fourth at the 2018 National Junior College Athletic Association D1 National Championship Preview in Viera, Fla.
“We’re really deep this year and we definitely have to put the right rounds together at the right time and we can be national champions this year,” Wallace said. “It’s very possible.
“I want to have at least one ring on my finger when I leave here. We’re going to see all different types of golf courses. The schedule looks really good. We’re going to be competing against the best of the best, too.”
Odessa College also captured the NJCAA District 2 title last season in Lubbock, finishing six strokes ahead of WJCAC rival Midland College.
Midland native Bryce Waters, who signed with the University of Wyoming, led the Wranglers to a fourth-place finish at the 2018 NJCAA National Championships at Rawls Course in Lubbock.
“Just keep getting better, get ready for nationals. Obviously, (winning) a national championship is our goal,” Waters said about his team’s expectations. “We have a really good team … 10 guys that can really play.
“You could mix each and every one of us up and still have a really good team. I’m really excited for the spring season and what it has to offer for us.”
Every spring, the Wranglers always have a competitive schedule. This year is no different.
Odessa College will get to see firsthand how it will match up to some of the best teams in the country like defending national champion Indian Hills and top-ranked Midland College.
In the 2019 Top 10 NJCAA men’s golf rankings on golfstat.com, the Wranglers are ranked sixth behind New Mexico Junior College.
Indian Hills is at the top of the pack while Midland College is second.
During the fall season, Odessa College finished in the top five in four tournaments which included a second-place finish at its own tournament in November.
“We did well. I was expecting us to be a little bit better and maybe pull out a victory here and there, but we were close on a couple of occasions,” Chavez said. “So, now it’s time to win, get that winning feeling and get on a roll.
“That’s the way golf kind of is. You win a couple times and that confidence rises and rises.”
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