GREELEY, Colo. -- As we inch closer and closer to spring and the weather begins to change, the Northern Colorado men's golf team is busy preparing to begin its spring slate next week at the prestigious Arizona Invitational. This talented, experienced Bears squad looks to make headway in the America Sky Conference after turning in a very successful fall season.
Head coach Chuck Scheinost is obviously excited for the upcoming season, believing his team has the talent to compete in any of its scheduled tournaments.
"This team has the talent to finish in the Top-5 of any tournament we play," Scheinost said. "We have the ability to get birdies in bunches."
The Bears have just one underclassman on the roster and will be led this spring by junior Stephen Bidne, a Minnesota native who is coming off a strong fall season, where he finished in the top ten in three of the five tournaments the Bears played, including taking medalist honors at Air Force's Gene Miranda Invitational.
Bidne wasn't the only Bear to have a strong fall, though, as fellow junior Troy Sidabras recorded two top-10 finishes. Bidne and Sidabras were the driving forces behind a productive fall in which the Bears, as a team, finished with three top-five finishes. Their best play came at the Purple and Red Invitational in Layton, Utah.
Northern Colorado and Scheinost will have a great opportunity to prove themselves in their first tournament of the season next week in Tucson. The annual event, which is hosted by Arizona University and played at Arizona National Golf Course on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 1 and 2, will feature some of the top programs in the nation, including defending-national champion Texas A&M and national powers New Mexico, Florida and UNLV.
"This tournament will give us an opportunity to see how we stack up to some of the best teams in the nation," Scheinost said. "I believe we can end up in the top-five after it's all said and done. Hopefully, with a few top-five finishes this season we can even earn a bid to the NCAA tournament."
Scheinost knows, though, that the Bears have their work cut out for them and will need to play well throughout the season to get that NCAA tournament bid. The America Sky Conference does not have an automatic slot in the tournament, so any of the league's programs must impress the tournament committee during its in-season play.
It remains to be seen what 2010 will bring for Northern Colorado
men's golf, but from the looks of things this past fall and the
optimism building around the program, something special could be