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Graham Siefker adopts new role as veteran leader for LaPorte
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BOYS GOLF

Graham Siefker adopts new role as veteran leader for LaPorte

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GrahamSiefker

Graham Siefker

LAPORTE — Graham Siefker admits to feeling a little melancholy when he thinks back on what might have been for the 2020 LaPorte boys golf team.

It wasn’t that the Slicers were coming off a sectional championship in 2019 and aiming to improve on a disappointing 17th place finish at regionals. The downtrodden emotions come from Siefker thinking about the outgoing seniors, notably Max Holmes, that never got a chance to play their final season for LaPorte.

Now a senior himself, Siefker carries thoughts of his old teammates with him when he takes the course this season.

“I feel like it would be weird to just brush them off,” Siefker said. “Whenever I’m out playing, they’re in my mind. We tell stories about past years and it’s honestly a little melancholy to think about.”

LaPorte has won four straight sectional titles and the Slicers might not have been able to pull off the win in 2019 without the play of Siefker. The then-sophomore struggled by shooting a 48 on the front nine at Beechwood Golf Course in LaPorte but recovered to shoot a 42 on the back nine. Siefker’s back nine score was the best on LaPorte’s scorecard and just three golfers shot better on the final nine holes in the meet.

Siefker has fond memories of the 2019 season, but now fast forward two years, and the Creighton-bound environmental science major is the old man on the roster, focusing on a future that doesn’t involve golf.

“It’s a little odd being that older figure on the team,” Siefker said. “I’m really just trying to do my best to keep up the tradition of Slicer golf and to keep that intact. I want to keep everyone coming back, not just this year, but five years from now. We want to keep that mentality and that team tradition.”

Holmes played a big role in Siefker’s love with golf and that mentorship helped lay the groundwork for Siefker’s introduction into what it meant to be part of “Slicer golf.”

“It’s a family to be honest and I know that sounds a little cliché,” Siefker said. “Max is one of the biggest reasons, if not the biggest, for why I play golf. He took the game seriously, but he also kept it light and fun.”

LaPorte coach Brandon Goers is in his second year with the program and is coaching his first full season. He has seen Siefker transition from being a young member of the squad to being the older leadership figure. With the Slicers backloading much of their schedule this year, Goers has leaned on Siefker to help the team grow in the opening weeks of the year before the competition really begins to pick up this week.

“Graham has the most varsity experience and he’s been a leader for us with these younger guys,” Goers said. “Right now it’s about getting the reps and getting the experience. Our top four have been pretty consistent and they’ve all taken to leadership.”

Siefker has been at the forefront of providing the example for the next wave of LaPorte golfers, which includes sophomore Ryan Sittig.

“I hope that I can be that positive role model and convey to Ryan and the younger sophomores and freshmen what I learned from my older guys,” Siefker said. “Success for us right now is just continuing to get better. We have an incredibly strong conference and we’re focusing on improvement every time we go out there.”

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Paul Oren has been a correspondent reporter for The Times since 2005. A member of the United States Basketball Writers Association, Paul has spent more than 15 years covering Valparaiso basketball.

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