MASON CITY - The NIACC men's golf team is dominated by sophomores this season.
The NIACC men's team returns five sophomores from last year's squad, which opens its season this weekend.
The Trojans begin their 2018 spring season at the Graceland University Invitational in Maryville, Mo. The two-day tournament starts Friday at noon with Saturday's second round starting at 9 a.m. on the Mozingo Lake Golf Course.
"It is imperative that I get great leadership from the sophomores," NIACC's 12th-year coach Chris Frenz said. "They have to show the desire and determination to battle through adversity, such as weather or a poor scoring hole.
"Having been through the process last year they know what it's going to take to win and get to the national tournament this year. It begins with having a great mental approach to each tournament and for that each swing to matter."
Emanuel shot a 84-77 - 161 at last year's NJCAA Region XI tournament where the Trojans placed sixth in the team standings.
The NIACC men played in seven tournaments in the fall to help prepare for upcoming spring season.
"We had a rough fall season," Frenz said. "I don't think any of them were happy with their overall performance.
"We had some guys play well in a few tournaments, but overall as a team, we struggled. In saying that, we know we're better than that and I'm really looking forward to the spring season."
Over spring break, the NIACC golfers played several rounds of golf on a trip to Arizona. Frenz said it was good to get out on a real course and watch the flight of the ball.
"Schools south of us have been able to get out on their courses for the past three or four weeks," Frenz said. "That's obviously a big advantage to them in these early tournaments, but we'll be ready to play when the time comes."
NIACC hosts the NIACC Invitational on April 16 and the regional tournament is slated for May 5-6 at Lake Panorama Golf Course in Panora.
The NJCAA Divison II national tournament is set for May 21-24 at the Glenlakes Golf Club in Foley, Ala.
"I expect to finish in the top three of our region," Frenz said, "which would give us an opportunity to go to the national championships. We have play like we're capable and really focus on each shot and play smart. I like our chances."