Just a year ago, four seniors led VCU’s Golf team to finish fourth at the 2018 A10 Conference Championship. However, the Rams look a little different this year with freshmen taking over the team and leaving the leadership in the hands of two sophomores and a junior.
“We got so many young guys at the same time,” said Golf coach Matt Ball. “But I think the talent level is very good.”
VCU added four freshmen to this season’s roster of three returning players. Cam Barackman from Virginia Beach, Clifford Foster from Richmond, Ian Peng from Chang Hua, Taiwan and Adrian Vagberg from Sollentuna, Sweden will trade-in their previous schools’ colors for the Black and Gold.
Barackman won the 2017 Tarheel Junior Challenge, the 2017 VHSL 6A Regional and the 2014 Chesapeake Amateur. Vagberg won the Magnus Jakobsson Memorial in 2017.
Without any seniors this season, the Rams will look to sophomores Kristian Donaldson and Sachin Kumar, as well as junior Alston Newsom, for leadership.
“He had an outstanding summer, really came into his own,” Ball said of Newsom, “He has shown a lot of leadership and a lot of confidence.”
Newsom was voted captain by the team during the offseason, and the Rams will look to him for veteran leadership and guidance. When Donaldson fully heals from a surgery that took place at the end of last season, he will look to add to his 2017-2018 campaign when he was named to the All-American A10 Conference Team. Donaldson will sit out the first few tournaments but will not miss the entire season. Kumar hopes to improve upon his first tournament victory at the Cape Fear National Intercollegiate, as the first player in 18 years to win a tournament as a freshman.
“Even when they [Kumar and Donaldson] got here last year, we thought that those would be two great players,” Ball said.
With the Rams’ young team, the freshmen will have a lot of opportunities to contribute and play in key matches throughout the season.
“They got to contribute right away, especially with [Donaldson] being out, there’s three of them that will be starting every tournament,” Ball said. “I’m looking forward for them to step in and contribute right away.”
VCU hopes to use their young talent and successful previous season to spur them toward the A10 tournament at the end of the year.
“The big thing is just going to be to have fun. I want them to have fun, going out and being really aggressive,” Ball said. “We’re going to go for it.”
Rodney Robinson Contributing Writer
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