Ethan Luecke (fr) of the Indiana Wesleyan University men’s golf team is providing something for his team that most freshman student-athletes don’t: leadership on and off the course.
Luecke is already an ace golfer at the collegiate level. He spent most of the fall season as one of the Wildcats’ top three golfers.
“You don’t get a lot of freshmen whose skills are so well-developed that young,” teammate Dalton Miller (sr) said. “Usually the difficulty of the course kind of overwhelms you when you first start, but he’s made that transition already.”
Then, there’s Luecke’s confidence and calmness of character that belies his age.
“He’s very mature for his age, and I think that was something that was shown from the beginning to the end [of the season],” teammate Blake Russell (jr) said. “He has wisdom and he’s humble, and you don’t expect that from most freshmen.”
Miller adds that Luecke “never gets rattled,” and said the freshman already has the mental aspect of golf down.
With an excellent golf game combined with a good head on his shoulders, Luecke is off to a promising start for the Wildcats.
Men’s Golf Head Coach Austin Conroy said he loves what Luecke brings to his team. Conroy said one of Luecke’s biggest strengths is his ability to keep the team’s mood from getting too tense, especially when the Wildcats are traveling to and from tournaments.
“He just keeps everybody light,” Conroy said. “We travel in fives, so it gets pretty intimate, and you spend a lot of time with each other, and sometimes get on each others’ nerves. Ethan was always there to joke around and make everybody laugh.”
While Luecke is mostly easy-going, he knows there is a time and place to be serious. Conroy said Luecke can get quite competitive in practice.
“He’s not afraid to challenge someone on the team to nine holes or even a putting challenge,” Conroy said. “He enjoys competition and pushes the other guys to take it up another level in practice, rather than just going through the motions.”
Luecke’s freshman season wasn’t perfect by any means, and he admits it. He said he didn’t take enough initiative in his schoolwork to start the semester, which hindered his performance on the golf course.
“At the beginning of the season, school was just starting and I didn’t have a whole lot on my mind, so I was playing better. As it got closer to the end I had more [work] and it started to pile up,” Luecke said. “But if I spend my time right [in the future], it shouldn’t matter.”
Conroy believes Luecke will improve more in the area of balancing his tasks next semester, and he said he already has seen a more proactive mindset in Luecke this semester.
“We’ll see a lot of growth [from Ethan] next semester,” Conroy said. “I’ve seen him really mature and I’ve seen him take ownership of his responsibilities outside of golf.”
Moving forward, Conroy said he is looking forward to giving Luecke more responsibility in hopes that Luecke can positively impact his teammates even more than he already is.
“I can see him being a leader where he’s not afraid to call out other guys in a loving sort of way,” Conroy said. “But he’s also going to be a big leader by example.”
This story is a part of Co-Editor-in-Chief Jared Johnson’s “Stars in the Background” series on overlooked stars in IWU athletics. For more information, click here.