Returning talent puts Holy Spirit Preparatory School’s varsity golf team on course for a strong season.
“We are returning some of our strongest players in the school’s history,” Varsity Golf Coach and Theology Department Chair Mike Verlander said.
Athletics Director Mike Sickafoose concurs, identifying junior Ben Verlander, the coach’s nephew, and sophomore Matt Markham as two top players who have consistently led Holy Spirit’s golf team.
Sickafoose also credits Verlander.
“He does a really good job and works with the kids when they are young, giving them the opportunity to learn and play in middle school,” the athletics director said. And having a strong middle school program pays off later at the varsity level, Verlander said.
Verlander took over the Holy Spirit golf program shortly after he joined the school as a math and theology teacher in 2005.
In the years since, the team has qualified for the Georgia Independent School Association’s state tournament every year and has won two championships. Two Holy Spirit golfers have taken medals for individual overall performance.
Verlander grew up in Atlanta and played golf at Druid Hills Country Club.
Now, about once a week during the season, his team competes in a match or tournament, which involves travel to such places as St. Simons Island, Augusta or Macon. Verlander coaches golf for two reasons: “I want to cultivate virtue, and I want to instill a lifelong love for the game of golf.”
Soccer player Brianna Ryce is the first student to receive an athletic scholarship to a Division 1 school, heading to DePaul University.
Senior runner Ryan Doyle placed third at the 2011 GISA state championships in the 800-meter and 1600-meter events and second in the 3200-meter event.
Junior Hannah Meadows took GISA’s top state honors in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter events last year.