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Posted August 5, 2010 | comments Leave a comment

Falcons taking aim at district championship

Central golf team
From left, Central golf team members David Hoye, Josh Edmonds, Stephen Turban and Eric Semones aim to have the Falcons contending for a district title this year. Dennis Grundman/Daily

By Brian Eller - beller@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- David Hoye still remembers learning his team's fate at last year's Shenandoah District tournament. The Central Falcons had turned in an impressive day, shooting a collective 356 behind Hoye's 89 and teammate Josh Edmonds' 88.

The score needed to qualify for regionals, however? 355.

One stroke. That's how close the Falcons came to earning a team berth to the Region B tournament. Hoye was fortunate to qualify for regionals himself, but that scorecard left a bad taste in his mouth, a taste he's ready to replace with the sweet flavor of competing as a team in the regional tournament.

"That's definitely something I want to accomplish for us this year is getting our team back to regionals," the senior said. "I don't want to have that happen again. I want to go ahead and win the whole district and get that automatic berth into regionals."

It's a lofty goal for Hoye and the Falcons, but certainly not out of reach. With a foursome of talent returning this season, Central looks to push for a deep postseason run and challenge defending Shenandoah District champion Stonewall Jackson for bragging rights.

"Oh, there's definitely already a rivalry with us," Edmonds said. "We were waiting for their last guy to come [Tuesday] and we were already competing and talking a little bit of friendly smack talk to each other."

While words between the two teams may be "friendly" in the clubhouse, there's no doubt the athletes' mindset on the golf course is anything but. Both the Falcons and the Generals boast top-heavy teams, with Stonewall returning two of its top four from last season and Central boasting its foursome of Hoye, Edmonds, junior Stephen Turban and sophomore Eric Semones.

"We're looking at some good teams this year within the district," coach Jeff Walters said. "For us, there's a lot of focus on being consistent within the top four, because we're really going to rely on those guys to carry us. The pressure is on them to perform."

And though a number of schools in both the Northwestern and Bull Run District kick off their seasons today at the Curly Licklider tournament at Shenandoah Valley Country Club, both Stonewall and Central have already collided on the golf course, competing in Tuesday's mini-district tournament at Luray Caverns Country Club.

There, the Falcons' foursome already responded to the pressure, guiding Central to a first-place finish, as Hoye earned the top spot with a 78, while Turban, Edmonds and Semones each turned in impressive scores, shooting an 81, 93 and 94, respectively.

"We've got a pretty solid top four," Edmonds said, "but we have to stay consistent throughout the year, make some improvements and hopefully everything will go as planned."

So far, so good for this year's Falcons team. With one win under its belt, Central's top four looks to be up to the challenge and on its way to potentially bringing home a district championship, unless the Generals have something to say in the matter.

"It seems like every tournament it's always like, if we're in it, it always comes down to a few strokes with them," Hoye said. "Especially since they're in our county and we share the same golf course with them, it's hard to get away."

Clarke County

Coach: Angela Williams

Home Course: Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club

2009 Result: Captured the Bull Run District title before finishing fourth at regionals

Key Stat: Eagles lost eight players to graduation from last year's team

Outlook: Following a successful 2009 season, the Eagles will look to replace eight seniors from last year's squad. Zach Ramey, whose 80 at the district tournament guided Clarke County to regionals, is gone, but coach Angela Williams is still optimistic this year's team will be at the same talent level.

"I've kind of had to rework the team a little bit, but as far as their playing ability they just need to go out and show that they can shoot and be competitive," Williams said. "The most important part is teaching their demeanor and keeping their focus."

Handley

Coach: Tommy Arthur

Home Course: Winchester Country Club

2009 Result: Advanced to regionals after winning the Northwestern District tournament

Key Stat: Judges return top two golfers from last season

Outlook: With their No. 1 golfer Kyle Stickley returning this season, the Judges are poised to make a run in the Northwestern District. Along with Stickley, Handley will also feature Aubrey Wilkerson and George Craig, both of whom will look to tackle a challenging course at Winchester County Club.

"Well, where we play there are standards that need to be met," Arthur said. "We need people who are able to handle a pretty rigorous course, but with Kyle and Aubrey coming back and once we see how the rest of the lineup shakes out, I think we'll be in good shape."

James Wood

Coach: Al Smith

Home Course: Rock Harbor Golf Course

2009 Result: Crowned Northwestern District regular season champions, but finished fourth in district tournament

Key Stat: Colonels lost Nic Cybulski, but look to defend first regular season district title since 1990

Outlook: It was a rollercoaster campaign for the Colonels in 2009. After finishing last among Northwestern District teams in the season-opening event, James Wood continued to climb, eventually becoming district champs during the regular season. Dylan McKee, who returns for his senior campaign with the Colonels, advanced to regionals last year and will look to lead his team to a back-to-back crowns.

Millbrook

Coach: Russ Korn

Home Course: Rock Harbor Golf Course

2009 Result: Finished fifth in Northwestern District tournament

Key Stat: Last year's No. 1 John Linder is gone, but regional qualifier Matt Fazenbaker is back

Outlook: After placing fifth in a tough Northwestern District, the Pioneers are looking to progress in 2010. Fazenbaker is back after shooting an 81 in the district tournament to qualify for regionals, and teammates Grace Eisenhower, Woody Plante and Zach Shifflett look to give Millbrook a solid top four and potentially compete in the district this season.

"We're still pretty young," Korn said. "We've only got one senior and he didn't play in half of our matches last year, but we're a year older than we were last year so we just need to hit the ground running and hopefully make some improvements from a year ago."

Sherando

Coach: Robert Wright

Home Course: Shenandoah Valley Golf Club

2009 Result: Finished third in the Northwestern District tournament

Key Stat: Warriors boast mix of experience and youth in 2010

Outlook: The Warriors return a handful of experienced golfers to this season's team, including sophomore Chris Slater and junior Cameron Wiseman, both of whom advanced to regionals last year. In the district tournament, the duo helped Sherando to a third-place finish and led the team in scoring, shooting an 88 and 89, respectively.

"We're going to be kind of young here this season, but I think we've got the guys, particularly at the top of the lineup, to help us be competitive," Wright said. "I've got two seniors that I'm counting on to give us some leadership. Chris and Cameron are both back, so it's going to be interesting to see how well we compete."

Skyline

Coach: Frank Moxie

Home Course: Shenandoah Valley Golf Club

2009 Result: Took second in district tournament and third in regionals, had two golfers advance to state tournament

Key Stat: Ryan Rettberg is gone, but top golfer Zack Henry returns for senior season

Outlook: Last season, the Hawks featured a lethal 1-2 punch with Rettberg and Henry, as both golfers reached the Group AA state tournament. Rettberg, last year's Northern Virginia Daily Player of the Year, has graduated, however, and now Henry, who averaged 72.2 last season, will look to end his high school career with another state tournament berth.

"[Zack's] had a good summer, done everything he's needed to do to get ready," Moxie said. "He's going to give it a shot and he's very consistent, so we'll look to him as our leader."

Behind Henry, senior Zach Dove will anchor the No. 2 spot, while junior Ryan Dyke and sophomore Joe Dawkins will keep the Hawks in the race for a district championship.

"Dove averaged upper 80's last year, but played well the latter part of the season," Moxie said. "Then with Ryan and Joe, our team looks to be pretty good, I think. The district itself is pretty wide open, but we'll do our best with the experience that we have to win it."

Stonewall Jackson

Coach: Roger Wilkins

Home Course: Shenvalee Golf Resort

2009 Result: Won Shenandoah district crown and finished fifth in regionals

Key Stat: Top two golfers from last season are gone, but Tyler Barb and Coleman Johnson return

Outlook: The Generals have to fill some big shoes from last year, as top golfers Dallas Foltz and Hayden Miller are gone, but the defending Shenandoah District champions still have some talent on this year's squad. Barb will likely assume the team's No. 1 spot, according to Wilkins, but behind him Johnson and senior Hunter Mason will give the Generals a shot at repeating as district winners.

"We've definitely got some spots to fill," Wilkins said, "but there are some guys coming back who will really give us a chance to win. David Dodkin is back for us, he'll be a sophomore, and Hannah Stout, who played at the sixth spot for us, she'll help us become a pretty deep team."

Strasburg

Coach: Ricky Bowley

Home Course: Jackson's Chase Golf Club

2009 Result: Finished fifth in district, had Derek Davis qualify for regionals

Key Stat: Rams lost no golfers from last year's team

Outlook: While other teams are scrambling to fill spots on their roster, the Rams are fortunate to have everyone back from a season ago. Last year's campaign ended with a fifth-place finish in the Bull Run District, but with another year of experience under their belts and newcomer Tyler Doman, the Rams are poised to have a competitive 2010 campaign.

"We were very young last year and so having everyone returning this year is a real positive," Bowley said. "I don't know if we have enough golfers that are good enough to challenge for a district championship, but I do think we'll be much more competitive, so we're optimistic, definitely."

Warren County

Coach: Matt Wadas

Home Course: Shenandoah Valley Golf Club

2009 Result: Finished sixth in Evergreen District, had no individual qualifiers for regionals

Key Stat: Last year's No. 1 transfered out of state

With top golfer Drew Rickey now playing golf up north in Maryland, coach Matt Wadas and the Wildcats are set for another season without a defined No. 1. That doesn't mean this year's squad is without talent, however, but 2010 looks to be another rebuilding season for Warren County.

"We've been a really young team the past couple of years, so we're still in the rebuilding years," Wadas said. "We're trying to get these kids to have some real experience on the course and it's tough, but I think with each season we're getting better as a program."


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