They have won three conference championships in the last five years.

They have qualified for district play every year since 2013.

And they have reached the state competition two times in the last five years.

All of these feats are certainly achievable for the Explorers as the 2019 season draws near.

It’s a safe bet the members of the Hudson boys golf team have some major motivation when it comes to extending those impressive streaks.

That’s because the Explorers did not accomplish two of those three significant tasks last fall.

Hudson finished eighth in Division I district play after finishing second overall in the Suburban League National Conference standings. The Explorers posted a 6-1 record in conference matches.

Stow-Munroe Falls, which finished 7-0 in conference matches and captured the Suburban League National Conference preseason and postseason tournament titles, is the reigning two-time National Conference champion.

"Stow will be good," sixth-year Hudson head coach Dave Kurtz said. "They have a lot of depth as always. It’s the same with North Royalton."

As for his team, does Kurtz feel he has enough firepower to overtake the talented Bulldogs and Bears?

"Oh yeah," Kurtz said. "It’s a realistic goal."

His players certainly have a decent track record. Plus, they made visits to a local fitness center a priority.

"The kids were in the weight room semi regularly," Kurtz said. "They had a good summer. I can see five freshmen contributing right away."

The most accomplished player on the roster is junior Ben Basta, who hopes to return to Columbus after a one-year hiatus. Basta got an invitation to the state capital as a freshman and made the most of it with a 20th-place finish at the Division I state tournament.

Basta led the team with a 77.5 scoring average per 18 holes in 2018.

"Ben had a really nice end of his freshman year," Kurtz said. "He was solid his sophomore year. He didn’t play as well at the end of the season. He’ll need to knock a stroke or two off his average and obviously play well at the end of the year."

If the recent tryouts are an indication of how the season goes, the Explorers could have a new medalist.

Sophomore Coop Pamer had the lowest scores (74 and 75) during tryouts. He had an 82.5 scoring average last fall.

"Coop does everything well," Kurtz said. "His short game is good; he hits off the tee fine. He doesn’t have many weaknesses. Everything is solid."

Other returning seniors include Erik Block, Greg Madar and Burke Villenauve, who averaged around 83.5 strokes last season.

"Ultimately, we need people below 80," Kurtz said. "All of them can shoot 76, 77 on any given day. We just need to eliminate the bad round and avoid the big mistakes."

Another returning player is sophomore Andrew Yard, who won two tournaments on the junior varsity level last fall.

"Andrew is one of our straightest hitters," Kurtz said.

Making his varsity debut this fall will be senior Cole Chluda, who played a couple of matches last year, according to Kurtz.

Hudson’s players are significantly more powerful, thanks to their work during the offseason. That work with barbells and dumbbells could be both a blessing and a curse.

"All of these kids are a double-edge sword," he said. "They hit it further, but they also hit it further off line. They’ve definitely made progress the last two years. They now have the experience."

The Suburban League will have a new look this season. Instead of preseason and postseason tournaments, plus a seven-match regular season to determine the National Conference champion, the league will feature four tournaments for each team to accumulate points.

For the Explorers, those competitions might have a PGA feel. You could say they are the league’s version of The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship.

"You have eggs in fewer baskets," Kurtz said. "They have to be ready to play on those four days."

Kurtz approves the new format for academic reasons. Fortunately, his players don’t expect to miss nearly as much class time as they did in previous years.

"They had to miss last period seven, eight, nine times," Kurtz said. "It’s better from an educational standpoint. Now the league is on the same courses. In the past, we had to get there earlier and earlier. Some kids were missing an hour and a half of classes."

Hudson is scheduled to make its 2019 debut at the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy Invitational Monday at Silver Lake Country Club. Play is set to begin at 9 a.m.

Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, faceto@recordpub.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.