After losing Tanner Gore and Camilo Avila to graduation, the men’s golf team will turn to three returners and two newcomers to fill their shoes.
The loss of Gore and Avila means head coach Casey Devoll will look to veterans like junior Paul Gonzalez to take on a leadership role for the Mavericks.
“Those are going to be some hard shoes to fill, there’s no doubt about it,” Devoll said of his recent alumni. “[Paul is] going to step up, he’ll take the place of one of those guys.”
The work ethic Gonzalez displays on and off the course is one that Devoll describes as “off the charts.”
Gonzalez is one of three veterans who competed in all 11 tournaments last season. The other two returners are sophomores Kyle Cox and Caleb Hicks.
Devoll said he is expecting Cox and Hicks to take over the role of vocal leader that Avila left behind.
The pair ended their freshman campaign ranked in the top five on the team in scoring average. Cox was third at 74.19, while Hicks was fifth at 75.03.
“We all have one goal,” Cox said. “Our job is to go out there and just play our best every time.”
Aside from the returners, the team welcomes freshmen Daniel Cronje and Alberto Menacho.
Cronje joins the program from Paarl, South Africa. He was once ranked as the No. 10 junior golfer in the country.
Menacho, a native of Lima, Peru, brings experience from the Peruvian National Golf Team.
“The new guys are already in, and they already feel like they’re at home,” Devoll said. “Everybody gets along. They’re going to push each other.”
UTA will look to move forward after tying for fourth place at the conference championship to end last season.
“I feel good about this group this year,” Gonzalez said. “All the guys are gonna work hard and do whatever it takes to be great.”
Devoll said he wants the Mavericks to look beyond the conference tournament and last season’s finish. He said he feels this season’s group is special because its top three returners played a large role in closing out the spring on a high note.
“We want to get to regionals, we want to get to nationals,” Devoll said. “With the guys that we have, there’s no doubt about it that we can do it.”
UTA will open its season at the Lone Star Invitational on Sept. 16 in San Antonio.