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Cougars’ golf looks toward improvement

Jefferson, Washington ratchet up 2014 varsity campaigns

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION – Alexander White fully expects his team to endure growing pains this season.

The Jefferson golf program has only one senior, and several of the Cougars are new to the sport altogether.

But the fourth-year head coach also expects improvement. And it’s on that front that he believes he’s beginning to see movement – albeit slowly.

Jefferson fought through the rain last week to finish third overall during the Martinsburg Invitational, a seven-school tournament held in the Cougars’ backyard at Sleepy Hollow Golf Course in Charles Town.

Junior Patrick Glenn shot a season-best 76, four over par for 18 holes as Jefferson claimed their best finish of the young season.

County rival Washington, in search of a third consecutive regional title, took first in the Martinsburg Invitational, led by a pair of 78s by both senior Dylan Mumaw and freshman Gavin Bonievich. It was the Patriots third team victory in as many matches.

Neither of the local schools placed particularly highly later last week in the Bryan Gunter Invitational during consecutive days of tournament play on separate courses in Winchester, Va.

As a team, Washington finished fifth of 12 schools, led by impressive efforts of 76 and 72 by junior Ryan Fleming.

Jefferson finished last, again led by Glenn, who shot 90 and 92 on respective days at Rock Harbor Golf Course and the Winchester Country Club.

Loudoun Valley, led by a pair of 70s by Brandon Weaver, finished first.

Jefferson and Washington both were expected to return to action after press time Tuesday during the Berkeley Springs Quad at Cacapon Resort State Park. Both schools also have matches scheduled for later this week.

White said Jefferson is in the heart of the learning process.

“A lot of my team is inexperienced,” he said. “I was really proud of Patrick for his low score (last Tuesday). Those other guys are coming around. As we get farther into the season, and we get some more matches under our belts, they’re going to continue to improve.”

Behind Glenn, the Cougars’ alternating starting six includes junior Jared Foust, senior Zach Johnston, junior Chris Hozdic, freshman Logan Shirley, junior Jacob Catrow, junior Kaleb Lochner and freshman Ross O’Hara.

Thus far, Johnston ranks second on the team with an average 18-hole score of 100, followed by Foust (103), Shirley (116), O’Hara (118), Hozdic (123) and Catrow (129).

Last Tuesday in the rain, Glenn was just one stroke off the lead while shooting a 76 during the Martinsburg Invitational. Hedgesville’s Owen Elliott was the low-score medalist with 75.

“That’s our home course so we’re going to play a little better at Sleepy,” White said. “It’s a course that we really enjoy playing.”

During consecutive days later in the week in Winchester, an inexperienced Cougars’ team encountered tough competition and more difficult terrain.

“They were playing on a course and in conditions they’ve never really seen before,” White said. “So I commend them for just sticking it out.

“A lot of other teams from northern Virginia that were there are really, really good. That can be intimidating. They’ve got some veteran players that can shoot under par consistently.”

Attempts to reach Washington head coach Rusty Staubs were unsuccessful prior to press time Tuesday.

The Patriots cruised to a comfortable victory last Tuesday at Sleepy Hollow, topping second-place Berkeley Springs by 42 strokes, followed in order by Jefferson (third), Spring Mills and Hedgesville. Musselman and Martinsburg played, but didn’t score as teams. Washington won with a 321, the third time this year the defending regional champions had shot a 324 or better.

Two days later, Washington opened the Bryan Gunter Invitational by shooting a fourth-best 329 for their top four players over 18 holes. The Patriots shot a 324 the following day, but still trailed some outstanding efforts, including a 311 by victorious Loudoun Valley, and placed fifth overall.

After Fleming’s leading scores of 76 and 72, Washington collected strong efforts from Mumaw (79-79) and freshman Mason Kidwell (85-84).

Jefferson shot 405s both days to place last of 12 schools. Behind Glenn’s 90-92, the Cougars also saw Foust finish with a 102-99 and Johnston with a 97-105.

“Two different courses on back-to-back days can be tough,” White said. “I was proud of my guys seeing it through.”

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