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Young, Talented Titans Golf Team Set to Take to Links for Fall, Spring

July 28, 2014 - Now in his 13th year as Eastern Florida's head golf coach Jamie Howell has a young but talented team assembled for the fall campaign and the spring regular season.

And he has a good sense on how to handle things.

"If I can be someone the guys look to for guidance and stability, and, if I am sharp enough to stay out of their way we should be very good this coming year," Howell said.

The Titans have reached the NJCAA Division I National Tournament 12 straight times under Howell with a best finish of third three times. But last year's 11th-place finish was a disappointment.

Howell will acknowledge it with his group of six freshmen and four sophomores and then play things forward.

"The message will be clear, we can play much better than we did in 2013-2014," Howell said. "Last season is old news and it is time to move on. That being said . . . we will be a young team and at the same time one that can excel at the highest level of NJCAA Division I golf."

The Titans begin practice on Aug. 18 at the Fred Gay Golf Academy and Driving Range on SR 524 in Cocoa.

Returning for Eastern Florida are sophomores Brad Gray, Drew Cooke, Dalton Bartlett and Lorenzo Bolivar. Newcomers are Kerry Sweeney, Michael DeMorat, Alexander Blue, Aaron Giles, Corey Herman and Michael Keymont.

Gray and Cooke represented EFSC at the 2013 national tournament along with then-sophomores Arthur Leonard, Nick Maynard and Kyle Benson.

While the returnees have experienced the rigors of NJCAA regular-season and championship golf and college life, the new players will face myriad challenges.

"The biggest hurdle any incoming freshman faces in collegiate athletics is learning to budget their time," Howell said. "This is where upper classmen are so valuable. The guys expect me to be on their case about school, classes, practice, etc. But when they hear the same information from a peer it tends to strike home in a different manner.

"The fall term allows the guys to get their feet on the ground and have a taste of what college athletics and academics are all about, all while juggling a schedule that very few people could truly handle. It will be the biggest transition during their collegiate career and will help them form a plan to make use of their time wisely for all aspects of their college life."

As for the golf itself: "The battle will be not allowing expectation of performance to get in the way of their process," Howell said. "I am quite sure they know how good they are but we want the score at the end of the day to make the statement."

Until the five-event fall schedule begins with the Sept. 8-9 Wallace State Community College Fall Invitational in Cullman, Alabama, much work remains.

"I talk with our players every year about planning, preparation and hard work," Howell said. "If those were the only ingredients we would have many national championships here at EFSC. The attention to detail and embracing the discomfort that intense competition can foster, a team has to be able to handle the limelight when it shines. Coaches too."

Eastern Florida won seven national golf titles as Brevard Community College, the most recent in 1991.

Other events on the fall schedule are the Sept. 22 – 23. Webber Warrior Fall Invitational in Lake Wales; the Oct. 17 Collegiate Players Cup versus Florida Tech in Melbourne; the Oct. 20 – 21 Darton State Fall Invitational in Albany, Georgia; and the Nov. 10 – 11 District 4 Preview in Alexander City, Alabama.