- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Wiseman pacing for another nationals berth
By DALLAS COGLEStaff writer
Thursday’s performance at Beaver Creek Country Club in Hagerstown for the College of Southern Maryland golf team was not indicative of how it has competed this spring, or the last 10 regular seasons for that matter.
The Hawks managed an uncharacteristically high 385 to finish last among the six outfits that comprised a team score. They still picked up three wins in the tournament as a trio of other Maryland Junior College Conference opponents did not have the minimum four golfers to notch an official team score and thus forfeited.
Still, the Hawks (16-13, 16-9 Maryland JUCO) have a winning record going into their final pair of regular season tournaments Thursday in Garrett County and April 24 in Harford County.
The April 24 tournament was originally slated for April 19 before getting pushed back due to a venue change.
Instead of the dual-match competitive formats of the past, the Maryland JUCO teams have been playing in weekly tournaments that involve the league and clubs from neighboring states.
After starting the season with an out-of-conference loss 339-350 to Lackawanna College (Pa.) on March 13, the Hawks rebounded with back-to-back third-place showings March 15 at Allegany-hosted Cumberland Country Club and March 22 at Anne Arundel-hosted Chartwell Country Club.
The Hawks registered nearly identical team outputs in each of those tournaments with a 357 on March 15 and a 354 the next week.
Defending Region XX champion Potomac State (W.Va.) won each gathering with a 320 and 309. The Hawks went 6-2 in the tournament on March 15 with three of their wins coming via forfeits from opponents without the required four golfers. The Hawks then went 5-2 on March 22, including one forfeit win.
The Frederick-hosted Maple Run course saw the Hawks settle for fourth place March 29 of the six teams competing, as their 358 was 40 strokes behind front-runner Hagerstown. Potomac State claimed the top spot in the April 5 tournament with a 320.
“We’re not as deep; we have not performed up to our caliber yet,” Hawks second-year head coach Ned Spearbeck said in analyzing his team. Spearbeck was an assistant with the program for nine seasons before taking the helm.
“But our important tournaments come at the end with the Region XX being our biggest,” he said.
Spearbeck expects his club to have a solid performance at the Maryland JUCO tournament April 26, on the same Ruggles greens in Harford County on which the Hawks compete in their final tuneup of the regular season.
The Region XX tournament is May 4 to 6 in Western Pennsylvania on the Pittsburgh National Golf Club course, hosted by Community College of Allegheny County.
Hawks team captain Walt Wiseman will be gunning for a second-straight qualification to the national tournament May 22 to 25 at Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Ind.
The sophomore was one of three Hawks golfers to advance to nationals last year when he finished with an aggregate 321, tying for 108th place, on the grand stage.
“I don’t know if we have a chance as a team [at regionals to qualify for nationals],” Spearbeck said. “We have the capability, but we’ll need a good solid two days [at regionals].
“On the national stage, I’d say right now only one [of our golfers] might make it and that is Walt Wiseman. He’s hoping to bring it through at the end of the year.”
Qualifying as a team for nationals would mean the Hawks would have to win the regional tournament or advance four individuals to the national tournament.
Wiseman has spearheaded the Hawks in each of their regular season contests, posting a season-best 81 on two occasions and doing no worse than carding an 88.
Sophomore teammate Matthew Richards (Leonardtown) has consistently been the Hawks’ second-best golfer, matching Wiseman’s 83 for top team honors on March 29.
“Matt Richards has worked very hard on his technique and is much more able to put the ball in play,” Spearbeck said of his golfer with an outside chance of qualifying for nationals. “He played in all the matches last year, and his only tough match was the Region XX one.”
Freshmen Andrew Turgeon (Northern), Alex Brown (Westlake) and Brad Tennyson (Chopticon) make up the rest of the Hawks roster. Not having Tennyson’s services for their April 5 match contributed to the Hawks’ subpar finish, Spearbeck said.
The Hawks will spend the entire spring season on the road against Maryland JUCO and regional opponents after hosting the fall scrimmage for the league.
Next year’s schedule has the Hawks granted with hosting privileges. Spearbeck said his program has the luxury of hosting a regular season tournament at any of the variety of courses throughout Southern Maryland.