Late bloomers will always have a chance to find a home in the UW-Green Bay men's golf program, and that sense of home drew Lake Nebagamon's Trent Meyer to the Phoenix after his play last spring on the Northwestern (Maple) boys golf team turned heads and got UWGB coach Lee Reinke's attention.
"I was very new to the recruiting process because I only started the process this summer," Meyer, the WIAA Division 2 state runner-up in June, wrote last week in an email interview with Wisconsin.Golf. "I have improved drastically over the last couple summers, and this summer was when I finally started playing at a high enough level to be able to get recruited by college teams."
Meyer recently gave his verbal commitment to UWGB, choosing the Phoenix over interest from UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout, a pair of NCAA Division III schools that compete as independents since the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference does not sponsor men's golf. He said Eau Claire's long-standing men's golf success and Stout's popular Golf Enterprise Management major were intriguing, but UWGB's opportunity was too good to pass up.
He will join West De Pere's Max Reis in Reinke's incoming freshman class next fall. The Phoenix are carrying three seniors on its six-player roster this fall, but two of them — Austin Schnell and Ryan Schuelke — are expected to use a year of COVID-19 extra eligibility to return to the program next fall.
"I got interest from UW-Green Bay during the middle of the summer," Meyer wrote. "My play during the WIAA season, where I won both my regional and sectional and took second at state, I think, helped me stand out."
His play the rest of the summer no doubt only heightened Reinke's interest.
After a pedestrian showing at the WPGA Junior Championship, where he shot 77-78 at Dretzka Park and Brown Deer Park in Milwaukee and finished T-45, Meyer enjoyed top-20 finishes at each of the five two-day junior events he played in the rest of the summer. His play over the final three events included a T-6 showing at the Wisconsin State Junior Boys Championship at The Legend at Brandybrook in Wales, a T-7 at the Lake Arrowhead Invitational near Nekoosa on the strength of a final-round 69 on the Lakes Course and a T-6 at the Mike Schnarr Boys Championship at Blackhawk CC in Madison.
In addition, Meyer survived a 4-for-3 playoff at the Wisconsin State Amateur qualifier at Turtleback Golf Course in Rice Lake after shooting a 74. He shot 77-76 at Westmoor CC to make the cut at the State Am, finishing 68th after closing 88-83 in his first start in the event.
"When I found out that Green Bay had some interest in me, I emailed Coach Reinke and he got back to me right away," Meyer wrote. "We were able to set up a video call that same day to talk. I really like that Coach Reinke will always get back to you as soon as possible and that made me feel I could trust him more as a coach."
A self-proclaimed Green Bay Packers fan despite growing up in northwest Wisconsin where NFL loyalties often skew toward the Minnesota Vikings, Meyer took a campus visit with Reinke in mid-August. There were only a handful of students on the UWGB campus, tucked on the northeast side of the city, and Meyer was able to see all of the academic and athletic facilities before talking further in the coach's office, where Meyer was offered a scholarship.
"I was looking for a college that I would be happy attending and I think Green Bay will be a great fit for me," Meyer wrote. "I felt like Coach Reinke was a good fit for me as a coach and the team has a smaller roster, so I know it'll be a close group of guys, which I like ... I see myself fitting in well and being a player who can help improve the team.
"I'll be practicing and grinding over the next year to keep improving and preparing for college golf. Hopefully, I'll be able to be a contributing member of the squad."