By Bill Bray
FREMONT– When you think of the great athletes of Fremont Ross sports history you might think of perhaps Charles Woodson. Others might think of Rob Lytle or even Jim Tiller. John “Big Thunder” Lewis might have others remembering the Ross greats. But the question is who in the crowd remembers Orville “Larry” Sentman.
Sentman, a 1961 graduate of Fremont Ross, was the schools first terrific golfer. Not only was he the Buckeye Conference medalist in 1958, but he was the first Ross golfer to qualify for the state match. At the match in Columbus, Sentman played on the Scarlet Couse, and finished 5th in the 150 player field. The first time a Ross golfer made his presence felt at the state level. With Jim Mooney winning a state title in wrestling the year before in 1960, Sentman was another student to make people familiar with Fremont Ross around the state. “One thing I regret about playing in the State Tournament is that I think I could have been the medalist”, Sentman said. “But I did not have the confidence needed and if I had been offered some encouragement, I think it would have helped. But I was 18 and still learning how to win at golf.” After the first day of competition, Sentman was leading the competition.
The sport of golf came into Sentman’s life as a third-grade student while a Croghan Grade School. “My family belonged to the Fremont Country Club”, Sentman explained. “Abe Forbrych, the professional at the course would hold golf lessons for children of members. My dad and mom both played golf, my mother better than my dad. My dad felt that I should work during the year and had me caddy at Fremont CC. I caddied for about four years starting at 10 years old. Every Monday was caddies’ day where all caddies could play even if their families weren’t members. That was great competition and one time I started playing after my caddying was done of the day, I gradually got better and did not have any more lessons at Fremont CC. Caddying was interesting as I carried bags for the movers and shakers of Fremont and the area who were members. It was a good learning experience and I will say all the caddies were treated respectfully by the members for whom they caddied. My dad had me take lessons from Len Schmutte at Findlay Country Chub and later Herman Lang at Highland Meadows. Of interest, Herman was the assistant to Byron Nelson at the famed Inverness Club in Toledo and Herman was a very great man. Joe Kotlarczyk became the golf pro and I used to play with him in the evenings when I could, He would start me two up and I could match him with that handicap he gave me. I lost in the Fremont CC Championship to Coach Jim Gruden after my graduation in 1961. My lowest score ever is two 68’s, during the Charleston City Amateur which I won and once at the Medal of Honor Course at Quantico Marine Base.”
After his high school days, Sentman played on the freshman team at Ohio State in 1962. “I was awarded a ‘letter sweater’ as a freshman. I could not play in matches until my sophomore year. I received a gray sweater with 1965 in red,” Sentman recalled. The former state placer at Ross then transferred to the University of Toledo in 1964. “Our team was co-champion of the Mid American Conference. We qualified for the NCAA tournament as a team”, Sentman said. “The team travelled to the Broadmore course in Colorado Springs, Colorado.”
In January of 1965, the former Ross great joined the US Navy. Over his 22-year Navy career, Sentman got a degree from Purdue University in 1971 in Aeronautical and Astronautics Engineering. “The Navy them sent me to The Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, for a master’s in physics in 1982. The Navy took him to such places as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Saint Thomas VI, Saint Croix, VI. He travelled the Mediterranean – Gibraltar, Rota, Spain, Naples, It, Majorca, Spain, Syracuse, Sicily, Taormina, Sicily, Athens, Greece, Izmir, Turkey Toulon, France, LaSpezia, Italy, Edinburgh, Scotland, as far west in the Black Sea as one can travel east.
After his distinguished Navy career, Sentman retired in 2015 from the Navy and now lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.