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Tiffin honors Ryman with home tournament this weekend

This weekend, the Tiffin men's golf coach and his program will once again honor the memory of Kyle Ryman, a former Dragons' player who died in 2001 from meningitis.

They will do so with the 14th Kyle Ryman Memorial Tournament, which will take place this weekend at Mohawk Golf and Country Club.

"This is our event. This is one of the events we look forward to," Roggow said. "We don't play home, ever. This is our flagship event. This is one of the big ones for us, chance to honor Kyle's legacy and showcase our facilities, we get to be the focus."

Roggow said Ryman's legacy is a big part of what the golf program has become.

In 2001, Roggow was a young coach. His brother, Ryan - known as Rip - was on his team, as was Ryman.

Ryman was Rip's roommate. In part because of that, coach Roggow got to know Ryman well.

"He was a defacto little brother," Roggow said. "Kyle was a huge part of my life at that time, and still is to day."

Roggow said that Ryman was just the type of player he wanted for his program, even if he was just in the beginning stages of figuring out what that was.

"It was the beginning of what I wanted to my program to look like," he said.

Fifteen years later, Roggow has built the Dragons into a Division II national power. And that came after the program was successful at the NAIA level. The Dragons made the national tournament in the NAIA in 2007, and made the Division II national championship tournament last season.

All the while, Ryman's memory has served as inspiration for Roggow.

And this weekend's tournament - as well as the endowed scholarship created in his name by the family of Ryan Kossick, another former Dragon golfer - continue to honor him.

"He's a huge part of what we do here," Roggow said. "His memory is not just as a golfer but as a person, a leader for us."

The event has grown. In its first year, the Kyle Ryman Memorial brought in eight teams, and between 40-50 golfers.

This year, there will be 13 teams and 99 players competing. There will be a practice round today, 36 holes Saturday and 18 Sunday.

Mohawk is allowing Tiffin to use the course for three days, with Roggow saying the members have been "so supportive."

The tournament tees off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. It's TU's second tournament of the season. It finished eighth at the GLIAC North Invitational Sept. 18.

"We can't afford to have too bad a weekend," Roggow said of the Dragons, who finished 12th at the D-II nationals last spring. "It's a chance to rebound."

But to Roggow, finish is secondary.

"This to me, personally, is much more than just a golf tournament," he said. It's a chance to memorialize a great young man."

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