Blair golfers get back into the swing of things


Sept. 24, 2002, midnight | By Alan Coleman | 19 years, 4 months ago

The Blair golf team bounces back to finish its season at 7-8


After a tough 0-3 loss a week ago, the Blair golf team has pulled itself from a record of only 3-6, to nearly reaching a winning season. Since its match at Laytonsville golf course a week ago, Blair has shot an excellent record of 4-2 to end this year.

Led by juniors Ben Payes and Zachary Mellman and sophomore Neal Vasilak, the Blair golf team scored an average of 25.23 shots per hole, their best score to date in a match. And, while they defeated Kennedy and Springbrook easily, Blair couldn't outshoot Einstein. Had Blair improved its average team score by only one-quarter of a point, it would not have let a winning season slip away.

Golf Coach Jim Young says that having more wins than losses would have been ideal, but that Einstein simply outplayed Blair. "It would have been great to have a winning season and we got very close. We'll just have to work harder next year."

Northwest golf course, where this match took place, is not unfamiliar to these Blazers. "We practice here at Northwest golf course," says Vasilak, "but most of the other teams do, too, so it isn't really an advantage."

Whether or not the course was a factor, the golfers shot surprisingly well. Payes shot an impressive 38 on the first nine holes, Mellman shot a respectable 41, and Vasilak's score wasn't far behind at 42. In fact, all three of Blair's starters shot their best scores yet during this match.

While Payes was pleased with his nine-hole score of 38, he was disappointed that he had triple bogeyed on the fifth hole (which means his score on this hole was three over par). Had he parred the hole, as was expected, Payes would have shot an even better score of 35, which would have been under par for the day.

"I was playing a flawless game up until that point," Payes pronounced. "I was trying to hit the ball around some trees, but I miss-hit, and I lost it in the woods."

The weather during the match also may have helped Blair. According to the team, it was ideal for golf. With the high temperature at 78˚, and not a cloud in the sky, Mellman described Tuesday as "the perfect day for golfing."

Young believes that the Blair golf team will be more successful next season. One reason is that the three starters will all be returning to Blair. Although Dan Hill and Alex Hutchinson will graduate this year, Payes, Mellman, and Vasilak will all be returning. "We"ve got some real strong golfers coming back for next year," says Young, "so we're going to have a strong season."

Another reason why Blair's prospects look good for next year is the potential of the current underclassmen. The golf team consists of mostly underclassmen that, if they developed more strength, could make the starting line-up. "We've got great freshmen on the team, who have great swings," Young says. "And if they grow and get some muscle, I know we'll have some really good guys."

Vasilak considers the team to have great possibilities for next season. He describes the team as having "a lot of young talent."

Payes concurs, as many of the rising golfers are underclassmen. "If some of the freshmen step it up and practice hard," Payes argues, "we'll have a very decent season."

No one is more convinced than Young that Blair will succeed in the coming season. "Every school's trying to build a better team," he describes. "But I honestly believe that we will move up in our ranking and become very successful."

This is not only the first year that Young is coaching the Blair team. It is also the first year that Blair has had a girl's golf team. This new sports program at Blair is a carry-over from last spring's golf workshop for girls.

A separate girl's team was established this year to encourage more females to join Blair's golf team. In golf tournaments, only six golfers are permitted to play for each team, and few girls had scores low enough to place in the top six. The new girl's golf program allows six girls to play from each high school. "Basically, the girls' tournaments are the same as co-ed," explains Athletic Director Dale Miller. "The only difference is that these tournaments are exclusively for girls, so that they can play in the competitions."



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Alan Coleman. Alan Coleman is currently a junior in the CAP program. '04 Baby! He is a writer on <i>Silver Chips Online</i> and a Sports Writer for <i>Silver Chips</i> print. During the winter, Alan wrestles. This season, he had a remarkable 8-6 record (not bad for a … More »

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