Area golfers start quests for state title

October 19, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

The final hurrah of the scholastic golf season tees off Monday and Tuesday with state championships in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The University of Maryland Golf Course is the location Monday for the Class 2A/1A finals in an 18-hole medal battle in both individual and team competition under the direction of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

Area golfers heading to the College Park location for individual competition will be Will Roney and Andy Mellott of Williamsport, Nick Zaccaria of Boonsboro, Andrea Grier of Smithsburg, Derrick Thompson of Catoctin, Kristin Waeber of Middletown and Josh Williford of Walkersville. Williford will be joined by teammates Jim Polino, Chris Hannigan and Greg Nelson in the team play. All participating golfers begin with a 9 a.m. shotgun start.

Heritage Hills Golf Club in York, Pa., is the host location Monday and Tuesday for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association boys tournament in a 36-hole medal format.


Representing the area in the Pennsylvania shootout will be Waynesboro's Kevin Reiber and Chambersburg's Andrew Burke.

The state qualifiers

  • Will Roney and Andy Mellott - Roney returns to the finals following last year's meet at Clustered Spires when he shot an 80. This will be Mellott's first appearance.

    Both players got two practice rounds in on the UM course, which coach Rod Steiner says has a "few sucker pin locations."

    "It's important for them to play the course in practice rounds to take the approach that the round counts," Steiner said. "They need to think about where the pin locations could be and their approach shots."

    Roney shot a 76 in the district while Mellott posted an 80.

    Both have been up-and-down lately in conference meets, but Steiner thinks both players have the composure to hold things together and score well.

  • Nick Zaccaria - Zaccaria has had an up-and-down season scoring, but did it good enough in the districts to get a shot in the finals when he posted a 78.

    An exciteable junior, Zaccaria has been working hard on his game as he prepares for his biggest golf moment to date.

    "He is the young leader of our team," coach Greg Henry said. "To see someone like Nick succeed inspires all of the team."

    Earlier this week, Henry called off a team practice session but that did not stop Zaccaria from going out and hitting "about 500 practice shots."

  • Andrea Grier - Following up on her first state appearance last year, Grier shot 86 in the district for her position.

    Grier has competed in the summer Titleist junior program and this could aid her in the competitive aspect.

    "Andrea is accurate off the tee and doesn't try to overpower the ball," coach Dan Neff said. "Her irons are a strength and she's developing a better feel with the putter. Overall, her course management is becoming better."

    Grier comes from a line of golfers in the family which her older sister Alicia, a former state champion.

    "She practiced Friday and will today, so she will have a good feel for the course," Neff said.

  • Derrick Thompson - A junior, Thompson made the state with a 78 at districts and won the individual title in the MVAL Antietam Conference tournament Wednesday with a wind-blown best of 87.

  • Josh Williford & Walkersville team - "The kids are excited as a team," coach George Baltic said. "I'm thinking if we can shoot under 320 as a team we will be competitive."

    The Lions shot 326 to edge Northern Garrett and Williamsport for the district title and Williford shot a 74 to pace the effort.

    Hannigan has scored well in tournaments which makes Walkersville more dangeroous. Polino has been consistent throughout the year.

    Williford led the team with a 39-stroke average and according to Baltic, "is longer than average off the tee."

    "Josh plays competitive golf during the summer and as a sophomore he is not intimidated," Baltic said.

    In his first year as coach Baltic has had a great deal of fun with a "great bunch of kids" but would like to add another team trophy for the school season at Walkersville.

  • Kristin Waeber - Waeber is an all-around athlete at Middletown that has promise for an excellent showing in the tournament. She posted an 87 to qualify.

    "She liked the course Thursday (practice round)," said coach Chad Bohn. "Kristin has been working on her chipping and putting game lately and she's been playing better lately, including a 37.

    "Kristin went through a slump midway through the year, but she has the confidence in herself," he said.

    UM Golf Course - The course will play to around 6,600 yards with a par 72. The fairways are ample with bermuda grass from tee to green and the greens were recently topdressed. It will be important to manage the course with more than 400 trees lining the course.

  • Kevin Reiber - Reiber, the reigning WACO champion, carded a second-place 70-74-144 in the District 3 match to gain his trip, which begins with a 10 a.m. tee time on the first hole.

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