Tournament golf can bring out the best in players, and for La Plata and Northern, clutch outings at the District IV golf tournament at the Breton Bay Golf and Country Club in Leonardtown from its respective golfers on Monday earned each team a respective berth in its state tournament.
“The team played well today under the pressure of tournament golf,” Warriors head coach Dave Russell said.
Paced by sophomore Trevor Simpson’s 1-under-par 71 performance, La Plata came in with a team score of 315 to top the rest of the competition and finish first out of the 14 competing Southern Maryland Athletic Conference schools. The Warriors qualified for the 2A-1A tournament as a team as well.
“Trevor shot a phenomenal score and really stepped up when it mattered most,” Russell said. “He’s only a sophomore and seems to get better every time out.”
Northern, which qualified for the state tournament as the district’s top 4A-3A squad, put up the next-best score of 335, 20 strokes behind the Warriors.
“It was a beautiful day and a great day to be out here playing golf,” Patriots first-year head coach Clayton Lewis said. “We came out today fresh off a loss at counties to a good Huntingtown team. We knew that the only way to get the bad taste out of our mouth was to come out here at districts and win.”
Simpson’s 71 was tied for second best on the day. Jake Ellis carded an 81, while Gavin Ganter (81) and Jake Gleason (82) rounded out La Plata’s top four scores.
“If this team wants to be in contention for the state tournament, then all of these guys need to improve their game and perform under the increased pressure of a state tournament,” Russell said. “This team has a lot of potential and I know they will put in the work in the next couple of weeks to get ready for the golf course at College Park.”
The state tournament is scheduled to start with the 4A-3A semifinal round on Oct. 28 at the University of Maryland golf course in College Park. The 2A-1A semifinals are scheduled for Oct. 29, with the final round wrapping up the high school season on Oct. 30.
North Point’s Bailey Davis shot the lowest score of the day (68), while Huntingtown senior Jayson Brunclik (81) and Great Mills’ Connor Eagan (82) qualified to compete at the state tournament as individuals.
“My dad always told me, ‘Put the ball in the hole’ and that is basically what I did today,” Brunclik said. “My putting wasn’t there, but I made it work. I’m sorry to fall short with my team, but I am glad to get to compete at states.”
Lewis was faced with a decision entering Monday’s district tournament as one of his top four golfers fell ill the night before.
“Tommy Nissan got sick last night and had a temperature of 102 and couldn’t make it, so I had to pull up one of the alternates, Bryce Moore, to play today,” Lewis said. “He’s a senior and in his first time playing this season he came out and shot a 96 to seal it for us to make the mark we needed to make.”
Patriots senior Elizabeth Coffren shot a 71 to tie her for the second-best score of the day with Simpson.
“I am really excited for states in my senior year,” Coffren said. “I really want to pull a win as an individual and I hope we can place well as a team, too.”
Eddie Coffren finished six strokes back of his sister and shot a 77 for Northern.
“I missed a lot of greens off of my iron shots, but overall it was a good day,” Eddie Coffren said. “Hopefully at states I will be ready and can defend my title. I am excited that the team made it to states too. Joey [Mueller], Bryce, and Elizabeth pulled it in for us, and hopefully we all do well at states and can place well.”
Joey Mueller carded the third best score for the Patriots (91) and Moore turned in a 96 to round out Northern’s top four scores.
“In the last few [nine-hole] tournaments I kind of lost it because I was in the 50s, but now I am back to my old self and shot a 91,” Mueller said.
Moore admitted he had some nerves coming in as the alternate, but was able to turn in a solid outing on the short notice.
“The last-minute call kind of put a lot of nerves into me because I had to study the course and get to know the greens kind of last minute because everyone had their practice round,” Moore said. “I wish I could have done better on the back nine, but for the first time playing the course I can’t really complain.”
Lewis was pleased that his team was able to find a way to avenge a loss to Huntingtown from a few days prior and advance to the state tournament as a team.
“We knew we would get those scores out of the Coffrens. As a coach, I had to put together three more players that could come out and score in the 90s,” Lewis said. “We kept confidence in Joey as a team and he came out and did what he had to do in order for us to make states as a team. We have an awesome team going to states that we are proud of. Overall, the county championship loss was bittersweet, but the district championship means so much more. We are proud of that.”
Huntingtown shot a 342 paced by Brunclik’s 81 for a third-place finish overall as a team.
“I think as a team we did phenomenal this season,” Hurricanes junior Grant Boswell said. “It is hard to keep up with some of the competition, but we did it at counties and I hope we can do it again next year. We came up just short of [making states as a team] today, but I think next year we can take it.”
Cameron Kapiskosky (85), Akhil Patel (88) and David Wright (88) rounded out Huntingtown’s top four scores.
“We had a pretty good season, and I am pretty fortunate to play with the players we had,” Patel said. “We had some newcomers come in who played fantastic.”
Chopticon was tops in St. Mary’s County, scoring a combined 360 to finish fourth overall. The Braves were led by Sam Nebel who shot an 84.
“Sam Nebel has been working harder than ever on his golf swing and it has paid off,” Chopticon head coach Dillon Burroughs said.
Leonardtown finished sixth (392) led by Matt Bobrowski who carded an 88. Great Mills was eighth (416) led by Eagan’s 82.