SEPT 24, NORTHWEST GOLF COURSE--
After a tough 3-0 loss on Sept 18, the Blair golf team pulled itself close to a winning season at 7-8. Since its match at Laytonsville last week, Blair has gone 4-2 to end the year.
Led by juniors Ben Payes and Zachary Mellman and sophomore Neal Vasilak, the 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 high schools easily, Blair couldn't out shoot Einstein High School in the last game of the season. Had Blair improved its average team score by only one-quarter of a point, it would not have let a winning season slip away.
Coach Jim Young said that more victories on the year would have been ideal but that Einstein simply outplayed Blair. "It would have been great to have a winning season," he said, "and we got very close. We'll just have to work harder next year."
Northwest golf course, where the match against Einstein took place, is not unfamiliar to the Blazers, who regularly practice there. Their advantage was slight, though, because most teams in the county practice there.
Whether or not the course was a factor, the golfers shot surprisingly well. Payes shot an impressive 38 on the first nine hole, and Mellman a respectable 41. 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, he was disappointed that he triple bogeyed on the fifth hole. "I was playing a flawless game up until that point," Payes said. "I was trying to hit the ball around some trees, but I miss-hit and I lost it in the woods."
Young believes the Blair golf team will be more successful next season, in part because the three starters will return, although seniors Dan Hill and Alex Hutchinson will graduate this year.
Another reason why Blair's prospects look promising for next year is the potential of the current underclassmen. The golf team consists mostly of underclassmen who, if they developed more strength, could make the starting line-up, according to Payes and Young. "We've got great freshmen on the team who have great swings," Young said. "If they grow and get some muscle, I know we'll have some really good guys."
Young is also convinced that Blair will succeed in the coming season. "Every school's trying to build a better team," he said. "But I honestly believe that we will move up in our ranking and become very successful."
This year is not only significant because it is Young's first coaching the Blair team; it is the first year Blair has had a girl's golf team.
The program is a carry-over from last spring's golf workshop for girls. A girls' team was established this year to encourage more females to join the golf team.
In tournaments, only six golfers are permitted to play for each team, and few girls scored low enough to place in the top six this season. The girls' 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."
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 »