Leopards, Hubs tee it up as top county teams

August 30, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE
  • Aaron Staley, North Hagerstown

Smithsburg hopes to reload and North Hagerstown hopes it already is loaded for the prep golf season.

Those two schools figure to lead any discussion about which team is tops in Washington County in 2010.

"It's a totally different season because we lost so many people," said Smithsburg coach Dan Neff.

The Leopards' biggest losses were Herald-Mail Player of the Year Chris Bushey, who finished eighth in the Maryland state tournament, and A.J. Minnich.

However, the Leopards have sophomore Kyle Huntzberry and senior Matt Snowden, two returnees who have a season -- and a state tournament appearance -- under their belts.

Smithsburg won the Washington County tournament and then the Maryland District 1 title in 1A/2A, but finished second to North Hagerstown in the Antietam Conference, which Neff said was "a wakeup call for us."

The Hubs welcome back an All-County first-teamer in sophomore Aaron Staley and senior Becky Gossard (honorable mention), giving coach Joel Rice plenty of reason for optimism.


Staley averaged 40 strokes per nine holes last year and Gossard is looking to get back on track after a subpar junior season.


Coach Greg Henry is the eternal optimist, but that might have been dampened just a bit when junior David Wilbraham, one of his top prospects, broke an ankle in PE class.

Seniors Adam Schofield (All-County honorable mention) and Bobby Harwood head the cast that will tee it up on a regular basis.

"Adam has the potential to go a long way," said Henry. "We'll get (David) back hopefully in a couple of weeks."


The top four players return for the Lions, with three coming from the same family -- senior Peter Christiansen and his twin brothers, sophomores Daniel and Matthew.

Coach Jon Pryor is looking for continued improvement and scores dropping into the low 40s, perhaps even into the 30s.

"I'm looking for a competitive season with a group of young men with a great attitude and love for the game," said Pryor.

Clear Spring

Coach Darren Smith has 13 players he is working with this fall, a vast improvement over recent years.

"Golf is growing in Clear Spring," he said. "We've got 13 players, young kids that want to learn, so the future is looking brighter for Clear Spring golf."

In his fourth year, Tyler Brown should be the Blazers' top golfer. He's improved each year. Zach Johnson and Nick Hill also should be in the mix.

North Hagerstown

Other than Gossard, the Hubs are a very young team. Talent-wise, it could be a different story with Staley ready to follow up on a good freshman year.

"With Aaron and Becky, we've got a solid 1-2 punch," said Rice. "This is Becky's year to shine. We have the potential come time for the districts. You just have to have all the pieces fall together. Dave Grier gets a lot of the credit for working with my players."

Junior Jason Moody, sophomore Sam Robertson and freshman Drew McGill are some of the names that will fill the Hubs' stat sheet.

Saint James

Junior Alex Beckel, an All-County first-team selection last year, returns for the Saints. Playing on several tough courses, Beckel averaged 41 strokes per nine holes.

Saint James lost three key players, so Beckel will be relied upon heavily, with support from senior Ryan Doyle.

"We're definitely a young team," said coach Karl Yergey. "We want to build the season toward our goal of winning the conference championship."


Bushey and Minnich are gone, but Huntzberry, Snowden and junior Shane Fritts will give the Leopards punch up front. Huntzberry was an honorable mention in the county last year.

With junior Logan McSherry and the addition of transfer Christian Grosh from St. Maria Goretti, Smithsburg will have a solid front five.

"It's quality instead of quantity in terms of players," said Neff. "They understand the team concept that team points help from those playing fifth or sixth. I'm comfortable with who we have."

South Hagerstown

The numbers are up at South, where coach Matt Poling greeted nearly 15 players, something he hopes is a sign of a promising future.

The main eight players have been established, led by junior Luke Shindle in his third varsity season. He and junior Eric Sprecher spent lots of time working on their game this summer in junior golf.

"I'm hoping competition within ourselves will breed some success," said Poling. "I think we've got some kids this year that will push those from last year for playing time and that's good."

St. Maria Goretti

The Gaels will be stretched thin and the outlook for the future isn't necessarily bright.

"We were hit with graduation and transfers out," said coach Bill Hoffman. "The kids will work hard, but it's a tough outlook."

J.R. Everett and Gabrielle McDermott are returning seniors. Christian Grosh was one of the key transfers, moving over to Smithsburg.


After a two-year hiatus, Rod Steiner returns as coach of the Wildcats.

"This is a Six Flags, roller coaster type of team," said Steiner. "We've got a lot of new kids and it will be up and down and that's how the order could be. Most of the kids have to work on their short game, but it will be a fun season."

The Wildcats will be led by junior Scot Drury, another regular junior golf participant this summer and an honorable mention player last year. Sophomore Ryan Crabtree is in his first varsity season and has some athletic pedigree. Gone via graduation is All-County first-teamer Zach Weber.

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