Valparaiso University head men’s golf coach Mike Higdon has announced that six incoming student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Crusaders in the fall when the Brown and Gold return the golf program to the school for the first time since 1992.
Joining the Crusader program are Andrew Beischel, Austin Gaugert, Adam Gray, Mike Hesselman, Clayton Jones, and Andy Webb.
Beischel is from Whitefish Bay, Wis. where he helped lead Whitefish Bay High School to a 10th place finish in the 2008 Wisconsin state championships. Individually, he finished 20th overall, shooting a final round 74. Beischel also finished 14th at the 2008 Wisconsin State Junior Boy’s Golf Championship and has competed on a national level in American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) events.
“I am excited with the progress Andrew has made over the last couple of seasons,” Higdon said. “He has had many strong finishes on the state and national level. I am confident his game is going to keep improving over the next four years.”
Gaugert, a native of Lake Geneva, Wis., helped lead Badger High School to a third place finish in this year’s state championship while finishing 19th individually. As a senior, Gaugert was the Southern Lakes Conference Player of the Year and has been invited to the state invitational for the top-40 juniors each of the last three years. In 2008, he qualified for the Wisconsin State Amateur.
“Austin has the potential to have his golf career really take off now that he is focusing on one sport,” Higdon said. “With his experience of playing well in national and state events, I am looking for him to have no problem making the transition to the college game.”
Gray, from Portland, Ind., was a four-time All-Olympic Conference selection for Jay County High School. As a senior he averaged 75.3 and was the team’s Most Valuable Player all four years. During his prep career, he set the school’s nine-hole scoring record as a freshman and sophomore while setting the 18-hole record as a junior.
“Adam has put together four solid years of high school golf,” added Higdon. “I am confident he will carry this right into his college career.”
Hesselman is transferring to Valpo from Viterbo University where he finished in the top-10 in all 11 events as a freshman, including posting two victories and three runner-up finishes. He averaged 73.65 over 20 rounds to lead the team and was named to the All-Midwest Collegiate Conference Team. He finished 2008 ranked as the number two junior golfer in Wisconsin. A native of Janesville, Wis., he lost in a playoff for the championship for EdgertonHigh School in the 2008 division two Wisconsin State Championships.
“I was ecstatic when Mike decided to join the Valpo program,” Higdon said. “With his proven track record last year at the collegiate level, I am looking for him to make a quick presence among the best players in the Horizon League.
Jones, from Merton, Wis., helped lead Arrowhead High School to three straight Wisconsin state championships as well as two Classic Eight Conference titles. As a senior, he was a Second Team All-Classic Eight selection as well as a co-captain. Jones has also qualified for the Wisconsin State Amateur as well as played in numerous AJGA events.
“Clayton knows what it takes to win by being part of a team that won the state title three consecutive years,” commented Higdon. “I am looking for him to bring that experience and knowledge to our team.”
Webb, a native of Bedford, Ind., was the Hoosier Hills Conference champion for Bedford North Lawrence High School in 2009. A three-sport athlete, he was the team captain and is one of eight golfers representing Indiana this summer in the International Sports Down Under Competition that will take place in Australia and Hawaii.
“Andy has the leadership skills to help lead this team on and off the course,” Higdon said. “He has been a three-sport athlete up to this point and I can’t wait to see where his golf career goes now that he is concentrating on just golf.”