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Chargers win district golf championship

MHS senior Jake Fletcher posted an 85, the third best score in the tournament. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

Middlesex High easily won the Tidewater District golf championship Monday to go along with its undefeated regular season in district play.

The Chargers outdistanced second place West Point by 57 strokes in the district tournament at Piankatank River Golf Club at Hartfield. Final scores were Middlesex (352), West Point (409), Mathews (withdrew)  and King William (414).

Mathews was not able to field a full team of  four members because of one illness and a very unfortunate turn of events during the match that left two Mathews players hurt and unable to finish the match as a team. One of their players was having some lower back trouble and the other sustained a knee injury during the match that kept him from finishing. The third player was ill before the match began.

“We all hated to see Mathews unable to finish as a team, but at least they did have a player qualify for the regional tournament,” said Middlesex head coach and tournament  director Greg Harrow. “They had just as much of a chance to win this tournament as any other team. It was a horrible feeling to see things turn out for them the way they did. They will definitely be in the running next year.”

The Chargers’ top four  golfers had the four best scores of the tournament. Sophomore Harley Moore turned in an 18-hole score of 83. “Harley came to play today,” said Harrow. “You could see determination in every stroke he made.”

Harley Moore shot an 83 to lead MHS and place second in the district. Middlesex advances to the Region A Tournament on October 7 at Piankatank River Golf Club.
Moore’s 83 was only one shot away from tying the 82 score carded by District MVP Stuart Sheffield of West Point. “Stuart played his heart out today and I’m very happy for him,” added Harrow. “He is a very quiet and  wonderful young man as well as a great athlete. He deserves recognition for being the MVP of the Tidewater District this year.” 

Posting the next lowest score for the Chargers was senior Jake Fletcher with an 85. “Jake stepped up and took charge as a senior leader today,” said Harrow. “I’ve been expecting this type of play from him all year and today he proved he is  capable of posting a low score.”

Rounding out the next lowest scores were sophomores Alexander Crittenden and Drew Pitts, each with a 92. “Zanny [Crittenden] wasn’t really in his groove today, but he came out and battled and put us in a great position at the one spot today,” said Harrow. “He found some trouble early in his short game and had trouble shaking it, but he played hard and finished much better than he expected.

“And Drew [Pitts] just keeps getting better every time he picks up the club,” said Harrow. “He shot the lowest rounds of the season on both sides today and it’s very rewarding to see how much he has improved since day one.”

Others competing in the match for Middlesex were Mason Goodrich (106) and Robbie Pitts (116). “I was very excited to see that Mason did as well as he did today,” noted Harrow. “He’s been shooting consistently in the low 5’s and he’s just a few minor adjustments away from being in the 40s. He certainly held his own in the number six spot today.

“Winning the district tournament today was simply amazing,” said Harrow. “If you would have told me on August 4 when we started that we had a chance to be district champions, I would have told you that you were  crazy. But it just goes to show that with a little hard work and determination nothing is impossible.

“It’s nice to be the coach on the receiving end of a district title, but the kids are who do all the work,” said Harrow. “They won this today because they worked hard all year and I am so proud of them. This is only the second district championship in MHS golf history and our players have a lot to be proud of and a regional tournament to look forward to.

Harrow also thanked others who helped in the Chargers’ championship season. “Coach Wade Traynham has been by my side every step of the way as a volunteer coach for the past three years and he is a huge factor in the success of this team. We also took on another volunteer coach in James Pitts, who has been at every match this year to support the team and has been an instrumental part of the coaching staff. I just want to thank them both for all their help. I could not do it without these guys!

“One last thank-you needs to go to PRGC and  course professional Justin Williams. Justin took a huge interest is seeing that the Middlesex golf team represented PRGC and MHS  with pride in every match. He devoted many hours to this team on his own accord and was a tremendous asset in our success as well. On behalf of the MHS golf team, we thank Justin for all his help and look forward to his continued support as we move on!” said Harrow.

The Middlesex golf team  was also proud to add three of its members to the 2008 Tidewater District All-Academic Team. Those members who maintain a GPA of 3.3 or higher are eligible. Those members include juniors Matt Owens (3.8 GPA) and Mason Goodrich (3.9 GPA) and sophomore Harley Moore (4.0 GPA).

The Chargers also broke another golf record in having five of its six starters named first or second team All-District. “With only 24 players in the tournament, having five out of six named to the All-District teams speaks volumes for our golf program,” noted Harrow.

First team All-District members included: Drew Pitts, 5th overall; Alexander Crittenden, 4th overall; Jake Fletcher, 3rd overall; and Harley Moore, second overall. Mason Goodrich made second team All-District, finishing 11th overall.

“I am just so happy for these guys,” said Harrow. “They worked so hard all year and  although we rode them hard, it’s all worth it now! To have four first team All-District players and one second teamer is just unbelievable. I just hope we can keep the momentum rolling into the regional tournament in a couple weeks.”

Monday’s district title qualified the Chargers for the Region A tournament on Tuesday, October 7, starting at 9 a.m. at PRGC. The 18-hole tournament hosted by Middlesex High School will include up to 72 golfers.

“We want to invite everyone in the community to come out and watch this exciting event,” added Harrow. “This is a huge tournament and these kids need your support!”

Four districts could possibly be represented at the Region A Tournament—the Tidewater, Northern Neck, Tri-Rivers and Eastern Shore. Each district can send its top two teams (six players each) and six individuals to the tournament.

The Tidewater District will be represented by the district champion Chargers and runner-up West Point, and individuals from King William and Mathews.

The Chargers completed an undefeated 6-0 regular season in district play on September 16 with a win over King William.

The Chargers were upset in the last match of the season by Rappahannock on September 18 by five strokes to finish with an overall season record of 8-5.

posted 09.25.2008

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