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State golf tourneys tee off Monday

October 24, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Area prep golfers head to state tournaments this week hoping to cap off successful years.

For Waynesboro's Kevin Reiber, it is an opportunity to complete a hat trick of championships in 2004 and to defend his PIAA crown. For others, it is a chance to reach the goal of a state title.

Monday and Tuesday, the Pennsylvania sextet of Reiber and Waynesboro teammates Chad Bricker and Josh Arendt, along with Chambersburg's Andrew Burke, Clayton Rotz and Chas Rahauser, converge on the Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York, Pa., for the 36-hole PIAA championship.

Tuesday through Thursday, Maryland conducts its 36-hole championship in College Park at the University of Maryland with Class 3A/4A the first day, Class 1A/2A on Wednesday and those making the cut returning for the finals on Thursday.

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Local golfers heading south in Class 1A/2A include Smithsburg's Andrea Grier, Alicia Grier and Brandon Sheaffer, Williamsport's Logan Hintze, South Hagerstown's Robbie Suddith, Middletown's Tyler Ausherman and Kristen Waeber and Brunswick's Kyle Beeson and Brittany Switlick. Competing with individual scores and as qualifying teams are Boonsboro (Nick Zaccaria, Nick Lupo, Brian Poole and Curtis Harsh), Walkersville (Josh Williford, Bryan Abbamonte, Greg Nelson and George Ackland) and Catoctin (Derrick Thompson, Patrick Clark, Ian Cuddahee and David Crum). Frederick's Chris Clipp is the lone representative in 3A/4A.

n Last year, Reiber was five strokes off the lead following the first round with a 2-over -ar 73 at Heritage Hills but came storming back to win the title with a 2-under-par 69.

"I don't feel a great amount of pressure," Reiber said. "It's so hard to repeat. I know I'll be one of the favorites, but people might not think that it can be done."

When his 9 a.m. tee time arrives, "I'll be focused and ready to go," Reiber said.

"I'm not sure his game is where it was at this time last year, but he seems to always be focused and ready for all the tournaments," Waynesboro coach Ryan Henderson said of Reiber, who has captured WACO and American Junior Golf Association crowns this season.

Henderson is excited about the possibility the Indians could fashion a 1-2 finish and Bricker, who owns a season-best 61 at Waynesboro Country Club, could well be on top if Reiber isn't.

"I feel good about their chances ... there is no reason to not be excited about having three kids qualify," Henderson said. "Bricker has been so strong and Arendt has been a surprise and grown so much as a player."

However, a threesome from Chambersburg hopes to make its way to the top. Building on a recent performance in districts, Burke could well be the primary challenger.

Burke shot a sensational 69 on the second day of the district meet to win the title and qualify for his second state berth.

ยท Boonsboro makes its first trip as a team to the Maryland tournament since 1996 when it finished third in 1A/2A.

Coach Greg Henry said his Warriors have reached a goal set three years ago.

"I told them back then with hard work they could reach this goal," Henry said of his senior class, which includes all but Poole, a junior. "They have made progress and improved so much."

The Warriors were certainly not counted on to escape the districts as a team, but they finished third behind Walkersville and Catoctin, bolstered by Lupo's 75 and Zaccaria's 76.

"Nick is our captain and leader with experience, Poole has progressed and Lupo has stepped up," Henry said. "We're confident and ready to go."

Walkersville, a third-place finisher last season, has been shooting extremely since the district tournament and coach George Baltic is optimistic about team and individual chances.

"We've set goals of averaging under 40 for nine holes and I think my kids are certainly capable of all doing that this year," Baltic said.

Williford and Nelson, each returning to College Park, and Abbamonte all shot 78s in the district and Ackland chipped in with an 80, scores that would put them in the running this week.

Catoctin veteran Derrick Thompson makes his third trip to states and hopes it is a charm after an 82 as a sophomore and 87 last year.

"I haven't had much success the last two years, but I think there will be less pressure this year because we are also there as a team," Thompson said. "I've waited four years for this chance."

Clark, in his fourth year of varsity along with Thompson and Cuddahee, will be aggressive from the start.

"I want to be aggressive the first day, make the cut and then put it out on the line," Clark said. "I'm excited both as an individual and for the team."

Those sentiments were echoed by coach Chris Barnhart.

"Even with our talent we've had a few bad breaks the last few years but now the seniors have a real shot at a title this year," Barnhart said.

Smithsburg's Grier tandem and Sheaffer make coach Dan Neff smile and expectations for the senior Andrea are huge.

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