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Golfers set to take best swings at state championships

October 23, 2005|By TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

The final week of the prep golf season unfolds with state champions to be determined in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Chambersburg's Clayton Rotz and Waynesboro's Jake Wetzel head to York, Pa., for the PIAA's two-day competition at Heritage Hills Country Club on Monday and Tuesday.

In Maryland, the Class 2A-1A opening round commences at the Unviersity of Maryland Golf Course in College Park on Tuesday with survivors returning for the final round Wednesday. The 4A-3A tournament begins Monday and returns Wednesday.

The local contingent heading to College Park will include the teams from Walkersville and Smithsburg along with Middletown's Kristen Waeber and Tyler Ausherman, Catoctin's Adam Delauter, Boonsboro's Brian Poole and Williamsport's Logan Hintze.

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Walkersville's qualifying team consists of Josh Williford, Josh Winn, Chad Benford and Nick Keefer. The Smithsburg quartet is made up of Brandon Sheaffer, Alicia Grier, Alex Wine and Dennis Herbert.

Thomas Johnson's Paul Riuli is the lone golfer to qualify from the area in 4A-3A.

Rotz will be making his second trip to York, while Wetzel will be a rookie in state competiton. Rotz, who leads area prep golfers with a 35.8 scoring average for nine holes, finished 46th last year when he suffered through an 85 following an opening-round 74. Still, Chambersburg coach Mark Yost thinks his lefty is among the favorites.

"I think his chances are healthy. ... He's as good as anybody else," said Yost, who last year sent Chas Rahauser and Andrew Burke to the finals with Rotz. "He's got to play well and a little luck is always involved. He's been working on the finer parts of the game ... his misses off the tee have been left and right in the fairway."

Rotz finished fourth at the PIAA District 3 Tournament at Briarwood last weekend with a 148 and Wetzel came through with a 152. Heritage Hills will play to a par 71 over 6,628 yards.

In Maryland, Walkersville will make another stab at claiming a team championship, which it garnered in 2000. Along with Smithsburg, there are only four other teams throughout the state that qualified and only another 24 as individuals.

"Josh has been solid all year for us as I expected him to be," said Walkersville coach George Baltic. "The younger kids have really played well most of the year."

Keefer is a junior while Winn and Benford are sophomores, leaving Walkersville with plenty in the cupboard down the road.

"We've got an excellent chance at the team title," said Smithsburg coach Dan Neff. "It helps that Brandon and Alicia were there last year. As a team we've grown quite a bit and they are getting better.

"You just want to survive and make the cut the first day ... don't do anything to lose it on the first day," said Neff.

Sheaffer is among the top five in area scores, posting a 38.7 nine-hole average while Grier has averaged 40.3 and played exceptionally well in tournament competition. She was 12th in the state last year.

Williford, fourth on the list in scoring with a 38.3 average, leads the Lions and is the only returning vet with familiarity at College Park. He was the medalist at the district tournament with a sterling 69 at Black Rock that included a 3-under 33.

Individually, Middletown's Ausherman and Waeber each is making a return visit to College Park on Tuesday to compete on the par-71, 6,700-yard layout. Waeber was 15th among the girls last year.

Ausherman has averaged 38.8 this year, while Waeber has rounded into form and brought her average down to 40.2 after a slow start.

Hintze heads back for a second trip after ending 42nd last year. Poole will make his first trip as will Delauter.

Golfers tee off in a 9 a.m. shotgun start Tuesday.

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