Tallmadge boys golfers hope supporting cast can elevate their games to complement their star player

Darin Hudak hits an iron shot during the 2018 Suburban League Postseason Tournament. Hudak, now a senior, has been the Tallmadge boys golf team's top player for the last three years.

They are armed with a legitimate star.

However, the Blue Devils will need their supporting cast to make more noise in the formidable Suburban League American Conference.

The Tallmadge boys golf team hopes to make some major strides from a year ago.

The prospects are looking good thus far. The Blue Devils have everybody back from a 4-4 squad last fall.

Unfortunately, Tallmadge fell well short of mastering the new American Conference format. In 2019, the Suburban League decided to have four conference tournaments instead of preseason and postseason tournaments along with six dual matches. The Blue Devils finished sixth in the overall standings last season.

“We should perform better this season with that first year of varsity experience behind us,” 18th-year Tallmadge head coach Jon Shomo said. “We hope to jump up at least a couple of spots and compete with those schools.”

A once-in-a-generation performer will lead the way.

Senior Darin Hudak, who has been the Blue Devils’ top player for the last three years, hopes to achieve his greatest feat to date.

That would be a trip to the state tournament.

Hudak tied the nine-hole school record with a 32 against Akron Ellet the previous year. He also owns the 18-hole record with a 71 at the 2019 Nordonia Classic.

The first-team American Conference golfer and second-team All-Northeast Ohio standout averaged 36.1 strokes in nine-hole matches and 76.6 strokes in 18-hole tournaments.

From a team standpoint, though, Hudak will need some help if Tallmadge is going to leapfrog at least a couple of its rivals.

“We obviously need to find a couple of consistent scores to put alongside Darin's usual great results if we plan on elevating our standing,” Shomo said.

A pair of sophomores are more than happy to accept that challenge. They are Caleb Fairhurst and Ty Kester, who both held their own during the offseason.

“Caleb and Ty in particular have put up a few respectable scores in summer events,” Shomo said. “A few other guys got some tournaments in as well.”

Other returning players include senior Christian Rutan and juniors Logan Phillips and Isaiah Ulrich. Shomo is hoping first-year varsity juniors Kasen Frisbee and Nate Boyd can make an impact as well.

Shomo’s assistant is longtime coach Jon Karnuth.

Kent Roosevelt won the American Conference title last year. Highland and Aurora took the next two spots, respectively.

That formidable big three will be a handful again, according to Shomo.

I would think that Aurora and Kent Roosevelt, along with Highland, would rate as favorites in our conference this fall,” he said.

The Blue Devils are scheduled to make their 2020 debut at the Windmill Classic Thursday at Windmill Lakes Golf Club in Ravenna. Tee time is set for 11 a.m.

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