Rodenberg brings the fun as Central golfers return to the course

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Central’s boys golf team includes (left to right) Luke Asche, Jordan Helgerson, Tristan Weigand, volunteer coach Brady Stramer, Evan Pensel, Tommy Seeland, Karl Gardner, Parker Smith and coaches Tony Smith and Jamie Rodenberg. Not pictured: Brock Eglseder and Keaton Klingman.

Members of the Central girls golf team include (left to right) volunteer coach Brady Stramer, Makayla Erickson, Sophia Keppler, Madison Sylvester, Alexis Fettkether, Haley Frieden, Madison Schmidt and coaches Tony Smith and Jamie Rodenberg.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


It’s been 21 years since Jamie Rodenberg took over for Dave Derhammer as Central’s golf coach. The two-decade-long coaching stint started when Jamie’s uncle, Brian Rodenberg, provided the right amount of encouragement. 


“My Uncle Brian got me started golfing and encouraged me to coach it. In fact, he told me I was going to coach golf when I came to Central in the fall of 2000. I did not mind. He was the high school principal here that year, with two boys that were excellent golfers on the team,” Rodenberg said.


But this year presents a challenge facing all spring sports: the cancellation of last season due to COVID-19. Because of that, it’s been over a year since Rodenberg and assistant coach Tony Smith have had a chance to “keep golf fun.” However, an approach that focuses on the fun side of sports might be what this group of golfers needs as uncertainty still swirls overhead. 


This year’s golfers include boys Parker Smith, Tommy Seeland, Evan Pensel, Luke Asche, Brock Eglseder, Karl Gardner, Tristen Weigand and Jordan Helgerson. Madison Sylvester, Sophia Keppler, Alexis Fettkether, Haley Frieden, Makayla Erickson and Madison Schmidt make up the girls team. 


“Both the boys and girls teams have had positive attitudes since we started on March 18,” Rodenberg said. 


Key to those positive attitudes, especially for the boys, is senior leadership. Smith, Seeland and Pensel have all been members of the team since their freshman year. 


Rodenberg said any weakness is largely related to the lack of golfing activity due to COVID-19, rather than inexperience. 


The girls’ strengths are similar to the boys. The leadership experience falls on Madison Sylvester, a senior who has been out since her freshman season. The rest of the team is stocked with beginners who are learning, improving and working hard. 


“Our players realize golf is not an easy game, and you have to keep your sense of humor [and] coach Smith, other volunteer coaches and I are looking forward to working with both boys and girls teams improving and having fun” Rodenberg said. 


The golf season starts for both the boys and girls on April 15, at Tri City Golf Course near Luana, against MFL MarMac.

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