Overlea convinced it can shoot to the top in '98 Unheralded Falcons aim to knock off Dulaney

County golf preview

September 13, 1998|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The only time Overlea golf coach Larry Nelson saw any of his players shoot in the 70s in the past was when the temperature dipped below the 80-degree mark.

In past years, the bulk of Baltimore County's low-handicappers attended schools in the highly competitive Central Division, which includes perennial county champion Dulaney.

Because Overlea competes in the East Division, the Falcons won't get a shot at Dulaney until next month when all of the county public school teams gather at Oakmont Greens in Westminster for the Baltimore County championships.

That is, unless Nelson can coax the Lions into an earlier match.

"I'm so daggone confident in my kids that I'm trying to arrange something on the side with Dulaney," said Nelson, who is in his fifth season as the Falcons' coach. "I know I'm going out on a limb, but I predict that we will not only win our division but go undefeated as well. My kids can flat-out play."

Fortunately, for parity's sake, there are many others.

Here's a closer look at the county's Central, East and West divisions:

Central

Dulaney: In addition to their annual goal of capturing the division and county titles, the Lions, coached by Craig Saxson, are looking to improve on last year's fifth-place finish statewide. Seniors Grant Dupree and John Schap and sophomores Scott Headd and Jaime Hebbel, both of whom started last year as freshmen, give Dulaney a formidable top four, and Saxson has four others battling for the team's final two spots.

Towson: Coach Glenn Hyman call his 1998 squad "the best I've had in my four years here." Hyman's top player is Jaime Green, the defending Baltimore County champion. Junior Steve Doherty playing No. 2 for Towson, followed, in order, by Jeremy Ruter, Jason Krull, Dave Wille and Pat Pulliam. "The county tournament will be tight. A putt here and a putt there could decide it," said Hyman, whose team placed fifth at states last fall. "If my guys play their best golf on four days this season, it will be a great season."

Pikesville: Senior standout Brad Friedlander's return, and the addition of sophomore phenom Andy Hoffman gives the Panthers a potent 1-2 punch. Rounding out Pikesville's top four are junior Sam Grilli and sophomore Jasson Seiden. "This is one of the best teams I've had in years," said fifth-year coach Jerry Miller.

Loch Raven: The Raiders are experienced, led by senior Jesse Smith at No. 1 and junior Jeff Ryan at No. 2. Loch Raven's third spot is between senior Nathan Twining and juniors Andy Redding and Graham Jackson.

Perry Hall: Coach Tim Lamp wouldn't make any bold predictions, but he does believe his team could give Dulaney "a run for its money." Lamp will rely on Mike Henson, Josh Wolf, John Ebbins, Ryan Citrano, Chris Scott, Jesse Wasmer and Brian Parris to handle the attempted dethroning.

Hereford: Coach Ed Miller, an assistant pro at Greystone, said his top five -- Chris Ostrander, Mike Stoutz, Gavin Lehrl, Brandon Mourges and Robert Smink -- have pushed his other players to a new level. Whether that will make a difference is unknown. "I think we'll surprise some teams," said Miller.

Parkville: The Knights, no threat to climb atop the leader-board, are led by juniors Jesse String and Scott Murray and senior Arty Comer, a four-year player for coach Bob McKee. "We'll do OK if the work ethic is there," said McKee. "The Central Division is tough."

East

Overlea: Nelson's optimism undoubtedly stems from the fact that his lineup includes one of the area's most promising golfers in sophomore Bill Wingert. Complementing Wingert, who recently won the Baltimore Tour Championship with a par round at Clifton Park, are Greg Windsor, James Chaney, and Wingert's older brother, Paul, a senior. "I'm looking forward to a return visit to states," said Nelson. "My starting four can all shoot under 80, and that's a luxury I've never had."

Eastern Tech: The nucleus of a team that finally came into its own last season is back, and coach Ray Fino said he has a "good feeling" about his squad. Sophomore Phil Michael is the top player, followed by seniors Dan Smith and Corey Schoenfliess, sophomore Bryan Knight and freshman Jack Lambie.

Patapsco: The defending East Division champs will try to make a run at upstart Overlea with a balanced lineup that includes sophomore Jason Woods at No. 1 and junior Tim Layte at No. 2. "We have more people with ability this season than we've had in some years," said coach Pat Conway. "Everyone we have has some ability." Rounding out Conway's squad are Mike Adams, Paul Hartsock and David Lee.

Sparrows Point: The Pointers have some talent, but coach Mitchell Moon said many players are still a couple years away from being divisional contenders. Sophomore Justin Matheny, who shoots in the low 80s, is playing No. 1, and John Early, another sophomore, is filling in at No. 2. "We should be in the bottom half of the pack," said Moon. "Right now, my goal is to get them to be more competitive and take the game more seriously."

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