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Dominique Colantuono

In this Aug. 2, 2017, photo, Lake Central's Dominique Colantuono chips during the Lake Central girls golf invitational at Palmira Golf Club in St. John.

Simply put, it was the next step in Andy Gurnak’s coaching career. Gurnak has been an assistant coach in three different sports at Lake Central, including the past two seasons as Chris Rossiano’s assistant in girls golf.

When Rossiano took an administrative job at Hanover Central Middle School after 12 illustrious seasons at the helm of the Indians, Gurnak filled the void.

Gurnak said it has been a smooth transition, as the Indians got off to a very good start with a sixth-place finish at the Lafayette Jefferson Invite on Wednesday with a 349 and a second-place finish at the West Lafayette Invite at Purdue with a 327, just 19 strokes behind champ Lafayette Jefferson.

“I’ve got a good rapport with the kids,” said Gurnak, who also has spent time as an assistant coach in the girls and boys basketball programs in his 11 years in the school district. “They’re great kids who work hard, so it was an easy decision for me to go for the job.”

Rossiano won 10 sectionals and two regionals, according to records at the IHSAA. He also coached Alexis Miestowski to an individual state title in 2015 and a runner-up spot in 2017. While Miestowski is now a freshman on the Indiana women's golf team, Gurnak still has a plethora of talent.

L.C. returns four of its top five players from a year ago, including senior Dominique Colantuono, a third-year varsity player. It was Colantuono’s 80 at Battle Ground Golf Club that helped L.C. to the Lafayette Jefferson Regional title in 2016.

“Chris Rossiano did a heckuva job of building up this program and putting the program in the right direction,” Gurnak said. “Of course, Alexis (Miestowski) did an outstanding job the last four years by being a great player and also being just a great leader. The girls all really looked up to her. I think the program is in a real good spot for those things.”

Also back for L.C. from last year’s sectional championship team are senior Isabel Spanburg, junior Danielle Colantuono and junior Sarah Sanders. Danielle Colantuono is Dominique’s sister.

“We’ve actually had good competition within our team,” Gurnak said. “The two seniors, Dominique Colantuono and Isabel Spanburg have shown leadership. … And we’ve got a real nice string of JV kids.”

Also back is senior Elana Lippe. She took last year off, but was part of the regional championship team two years ago.

“We were surprised she came back, and we’re happy she came back,” Gurnak said. “She hasn’t played a lot lately, and she’s still getting back in the swing of things. She could really help us out. … We have a lot of competition for those five spots.”