By Justin Maskulinski, Senior Staff Writer
The Miami University golf team heads to Akron, Ohio Monday and Tuesday to compete in the Firestone Invitational, an event where it finished seventh last fall.
The RedHawks look to improve their performance after an eighth place finish at the Jack Nicklaus Intercollegiate.
Senior Scott Cahill finished tied for sixth place overall at the event, but has his sights set on Akron, and improving his play for the betterment of the team.
"I think it's important for me to move on," Cahill said. "You think about our performance as a team needing to be better, that doesn't stop with where I finished. If I've got to improve to help our team then that's my part. I'll just keep working hard, keep doing everything I can. I've got big goals for the rest of the year."
Head coach Zac Zedrick said the 'Hawks improved in the time between their first and second events of the fall, but he still sees room for better play.
"It's just a lot of little stuff across the board," Zedrick said. "It's just continuing to progress. [Firestone] is a golf course that, overall, this weekend we're going to be really, really familiar with so there's definitely a high level of comfort there. I think we're going to be ready for an even better performance."
Last fall, the 'Hawks shot a final round of 284, 4 under par as a team. Three players from that round, Cahill, senior Luke Shaughnessy and junior Jack Sparling will be hitting the links this weekend.
"The local knowledge is going to be there," Zedrick said. "It's definitely going to help if we have another guy who hasn't seen it. It's definitely going to help having those guys who have seen [Firestone] before. Local knowledge will be a bonus."
Cahill agreed the 'Hawks familiarity will prove to be helpful.
"It's a big advantage," Cahill said. "The practice day will be a little bit easy for us. We'll be able to help out some of the guys who haven't seen the course."
The 'Hawks trip to Akron will mark their third golf tournament in three weeks. Cahill said the rigorous schedule is simply part of playing the sport and being a student-athlete.
"It's exhausting but when we're on the road it's really business," Cahill said. "Nobody's thinking about the week before or how tired guys may be. We all do a good job of taking care of things we need to take care of as far as school goes."
Cahill said the older teammates have the ability to help the younger teammates adjust to the schedule they face.
"[Upperclassmen] have the experience to not only help ourselves, but also help the younger guys," Cahill said. "We know what the deal is day-in and day-out when we're on the road. We know the time it takes, so we'll be ready for it."
Although the 'Hawks are competing for the third time in three weeks, Cahill said the 'Hawks should have a sense of urgency.
"We've got three more [events] left in the fall," Cahill said. "This is our time when we need to make our final push."