Dulaney, Pikesville face challenges

High School Preview

Fall Preview


September 04, 2001|By Bo Smolka | Bo Smolka,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Call it a double eagle for Baltimore-area golf.

Ending a seven-year run of state titles by Washington-area teams, Dulaney captured its first Class 4A-3A state championship last year, and Pikesville completed a Baltimore County sweep by winning its first 2A-1A title.

The road to a second straight championship won't be easy, though. Each team begins its title defense short-handed, Dulaney because of academic trouble and Pikesville because of injury. They also face plenty of stiff competition locally, a testament to the improving young talent on area courses.

"Everyone seems to have a handful of kids that can play," Dulaney coach Craig Saxson said.

Maryland high school golf is divided into two classifications, with the top teams and individuals from each of eight districts advancing to the 36-hole state tournament. This year's state tourney will be held Oct. 22-23 at the University of Maryland.

District VI comprises the Baltimore County schools, and District V is a formidable grouping that includes Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. Baltimore City does not compete in golf.

Perennial Baltimore County power Dulaney must defend its title without senior Steve Krug, third at the state meet last year but academically ineligible this season. Seniors Ryan Smyth and Garrett Brustein must pick up the slack.

Pikesville returns seniors Ira Cohen, Jordan Steinfelder and Steve Hoffman, but Hoffman will miss at least a month with a shoulder injury sustained while playing for Pikesville's state champion lacrosse team in the spring.

If last week's early-season showdown is any indication, watch out for the Panthers. They routed Dulaney, 12-6, behind Cohen's Longview Golf Course record 63. The teams will meet again at the county championships Sept. 25.

Towson, sixth at the 2A-1A state meet last year, is always solid.

District V is loaded again.

Severna Park led the 4A-3A state tournament after the first day last season before falling to third. Senior Ben Pellicani is the defending District V 4A-3A champ and won the University of Maryland Junior Golf Classic in July.

Arundel has a superb 1-2 combination in Brian Scott and Callie Vance.

Scott set an Anne Arundel County Championship record with a 2-under 69 at Eisenhower Golf Club last year and tied for third at the state tournament. Vance remains the premier girls player in the area. She won the state girls title by six shots as a sophomore in 1999 and finished second last year.

Local high school golf is co-ed, with girls playing from the forward tees. Vance's heir apparent may be freshman Stephanie Connelly from Northeast. Connelly blew away the field at the Maryland Junior Girls championship in July, carding a 1-under 70 on the University of Maryland course to win by six shots.

Westminster, the reigning District V 4A-3A champ, is again the one to beat in Carroll County. Senior John Wah anchors a fairly young team.

Francis Scott Key has junior Ray Sheedy, who won the Jimmy Flattery Junior at Hunt Valley in July.

C. Milton Wright, second in District V and fourth in the state last year, leads Harford County schools. Ryan Rate tied for second at the District V tourney last year.

In Howard County, the school system stopped sponsoring golf in 1994, but that hasn't kept its players off the links - or the leader board. Funded privately, Howard teams compete in an alliance known as the Howard County Golf Club and often factor at the district and state level.

Mount Hebron finished fourth at the 2A-1A state meet last year, just two shots behind Pikesville. The Vikings return a veteran team led by Jeff Castle, the District V 2A-1A champ.

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