New coach, new results for Champlin Park golfers

It has been a whirlwind few weeks for first-year Champlin Park boys golf coach James Goodrich, but he’s been reveling in what has been a crazy transition both at home, and the workplace.

He and his wife welcomed their third child the last full week of April.

The next week, his other homegrown family made their season debut on the golf course, turning in a pair of encouraging rounds in Northwest Suburban Conference boys golf.

Life, as far as Goodrich is concerned, is pretty good.

“It’s been kind of wild, but I’ve been a pretty happy guy lately,” he said. “Both with what is happening with my family, and now this team, yeah, things are going pretty well.”

Goodrich is a 1994 Champlin Park graduate, and former member of the boys golf team at the school.

For years he said he’s wanted to get into coaching the sport, and after being hired at Champlin Park, he came on as an assistant coach two seasons ago.

Former head coach Stu Iverson stepped aside for family reasons following last spring, opening a door for Goodrich to take over.

“I played for Steve Johnson at Champlin Park, and I’ve always said if I could be half the golf coach he was that I know I’ll be a success,” Goodrich said. “He was a tremendous mentor for us, and I just want to do what he did for me with these kids.”

His cause will certainly be aided by the abilities the players showed off last week.

The Rebels opened the year by sixth in their first outing at Rush Creek with a score of 337 April 29. But three days later, the players shaved a full 17 strokes off that team score, placing fourth amongst conference teams with a 320 at Tanners Brook.

Ninth-grader Anson Kuznik was the low scorer in both rounds. He shot 82 at Rush Creek and then 79 at Tanners Brook.

Senior Luke Johnson, who just missed out on qualifying for the state tournament last year, opened with an 84 at Rush Creek then fired an 80 at Tanners Brook. And senior Tyler Berge showed the most improvement over the two rounds. He carded a 91 at Rush Creek but then came in with an 80 at Tanners Brook.

“Those guys played really well, and we were 11 strokes from first place [at Tanners Brook],” said Goodrich. “That doesn’t happen at Champlin Park too often. But Stu said this team was going to be as talented as any we’ve had in a while, and it looks like he was right. The guys can play.”

This week, they’ll get to play, and dream a little.

Champlin Park was scheduled to head to Bunker Hills for a rescheduled invitational May 7.

The course will be home to the state tournament in June. Most of the players are familiar with the layout, but with the match not counting in the conference standings, the plan is to try some things that they otherwise might not attempt.

In other words, see the course as if it was the state tournament.

“I want them to feel free and experiment some,” said Goodrich. “Play like you have nothing to lose, and then when you come back, they’ll have that much more confidence.”


Contact Nick Clark at [email protected]