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Washington County Golf: Players can seize opportunity to be county's best

September 01, 2013|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Preps Previews
Washington County Preps Previews

One thing is for certain in 2013: There will be a new Herald-Mail Washington County Golfer of the Year when it comes time for postseason awards.

Gone from the county’s prep golf scene is three-time player of the year Aaron Staley, a North Hagerstown graduate now at McDaniel College.

A couple of golfers are likely candidates for the honors as the season begins. That said, there are not many players returning who earned all-county first team or honorable mention honors in 2012.

North Hagerstown senior Drew Miguel is the lone individual on last year’s first team returning in 2013, and he’ll be the top Hub as the team attempts to earn a trip to the Maryland Class 4A/3A state finals.

Others playing this season who received honorable mention last year include Niklas Steiner of St. Maria Goretti, Cody Reeder and Dylan Bickford of South Hagerstown, Kyle Moir of North Hagerstown and Patrick Hart and Max Brady of Saint James.

Washington County state team championships have been virtually nonexistent. Only Smithsburg’s 2005 title is in the state record book.

The Hubs had entertained state title thoughts behind Staley in the three previous years, but it never panned out. This season, there’s a hint of state expectations at North, but Urbana alone is a thorn in 4A/3A.

North and Urbana have already met this season, with Urbana winning by four strokes.

This year marks the debut of Hancock putting out a full team, as well as the most girls playing golf, with at least seven listed on team rosters.

Key tournament dates within the season for public schools are: Maryland 4A/3A districts (Sept. 23); Maryland 2A/1A districts (Sept. 17); Washington County (Sept. 26); and MVAL Antietam Conference (Oct. 18).

Boonsboro

The Warriors might be one of the youngest golf teams in the county, with 8 of 13 players only sophomores.

One of them — Tyler Olson — could be a talent coach Max Shaffer will be plugging in as his No. 1 player for some time.

“If he has a bad day, he goes straight to practice, pushes himself,” Shaffer said. “Many other coaches said he had a good summer.”

Also gearing up for a good year is Sydney Alexander, who qualified for states last year and who Shaffer says “is striking the ball well.”

“Everyone is improving and we want to be competitive and get above .500,” Shaffer said.

Broadfording

There are no more Christiansen golfers, so the Lions will be a very young team.

Owen Nield is the lone senior and likely to be the top scorer for the Lions.

Austin Fogle and Kyle Kehr saw action in 2012, and coach Jon Pryor is hoping they can contribute.

“If the returning players score well and the new players contribute, we can improve quickly,” Pryor said. “If the players meet their goals a .500 season would be a success.”

Clear Spring

Rob Embly joked when he mentioned the 14 individuals on the golf team might equal the football team.

Probably not, but its a huge number for the Blazers.

Embly’s first-year goal is simple — get better and win more matches than last season.

“Golf is funny, some days you have good, some days you have bad,” Embly said. “I just have to get these kids playing with frequency. We’ve got a mix, a couple have never played before.”

Junior Tim Stoner is expected to lead the Blazers and Embly is counting on support from Garrett Hull, the only senior.

Hancock

The Panthers will participate as a team for the first time, and they’ll do it with coach Dave Kerns, who formerly coached at Clear Spring.

“In all phases of the game we have kids that are learning,” Kerns said. “We’ll struggle but learn as we go in what we’re doing. I’m hoping (Kyle Kerns) can be the leader and that he has an excellent shot at states — this year’s version of Cody Trunkle.”

In addition to Kyle Kerns, a junior, the Panthers have junior Joona Kilelk, sophomore Chad Reedy and a pair of freshmen — Jordan Kerns and Taylor Kerns.

North Hagerstown

Miguel, the Hubs’ top returning player, finished 20th in the Class 4A/3A state tournament and averaged 39.5 strokes for the 2012 season — numbers coach Joel Rice expects to be better in 2013.

“Drew has played well this summer and we need him to shoot par or better,” Rice said.

In the opener against Urbana, Miguel shot 35.

But the Hubs have more to bring out, starting with Moir, a junior who came on strong at the end of the year, and sophomore Dylan Cline.

“Moir has been challenged to be one of the top golfers and I am really surprised with Cline,” Rice said. “Cline played only one match last year but he can help in the 40s.”

Saint James

This could be the “feast” year for Saints golf in the seventh season for head coach Karl Yergey.

“You never know about seniors, they’ll either create their legacy or just get it over with,” Yergey said. “They’ve set heavy expectations.”

Seniors Brady and Patrick Hart headline the Saints, both capable of shooting 40 or below on rigorous courses.

“No doubt Max and Patrick should lead us,” Yergey said. “The Glenn Invitational and MAC Tournament (third place) gives a boost coming into this season.”

Other seniors include Breese Dickinson, Ben Holland, Steven Hart and Holden Hershey.

Smithsburg

Tyler Fairley is no stranger to prep golf, having played at North Hagerstown. Now he has the duties of bringing the Leopards program back to prominence.

Smithsburg lost four-year star Kyle Huntzberry to graduation, and the prospects for 2013 are under the radar.

Junior Nathan Redmond should be the top gun for Smithsburg, but he doesn’t get much time on the course, carrying dual sports activities along with soccer.

“Nathan and the others, I just need to get them practice and matches so that they’re playing four times a week,” Fairley said. “The biggest thing is working on their short games.”

South Hagerstown

Coach Ethan Lester said his Rebels are “still learning,” but there are hopes of continuing where things left off last year.

“Things are positive. We want to get results like the end of the year,” Lester said.

There is potential at the top with junior Bickford and senior Reeder, both of whom spent busy summers in junior golf.

“Dylan should be No. 1 and he came out and played hard all summer,” Lester said.

St. Maria Goretti

If there is a Gael who can challenge for top county honors, it’s Niklas Steiner, an honorable mention choice last year as a sophomore.

Already he has a 35 on his résumé in 2013 as he seeks to improve on his 41-stroke average from last year in a big way.

“Amen to being one of the best in the county,” said Goretti coach Keith Bell. “We’re counting on him carrying us. He is improved and I think he can go below 40.”

Senior Jacob Moats and freshman Vince Steiner are on Bell’s hot list to help the Gaels, who have hope to better last year’s 8-8 record.

Williamsport

Another top player from 2012 — Ryan Crabtree — has graduated and coach Rod Steiner has a huge task to make the Wildcats competitive this year.

Only six players are on Williamsport’s roster, only one with any sort of experience in senior Conner Renn, who hopes to lead the team and get back down near the 40s while coming off back surgery.

“This is the lowest turnout since the program begin in 1998,” said Steiner. “I’ve got to teach the whole game.”

Steiner is high on freshman Madi Renn, whom he thinks can qualify for the girls portion of the state tournament.

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