The 2011 high school golf season came to an abrupt halt for the Silver Knights of Tyler Consolidated as they swung their clubs at the Regional Tournament on Sept. 26 at the Williams Country Club in Weirton.
The Ritchie County High School team placed first overall in the competition, taking the Regional title with 229 team points. Roane County placed second with 238; followed by Point Pleasant, 241; Magnolia, 272; Weir, 275; Ravenswood, 289; Oak Glen, 292; and Tyler Consolidated, 305.
Individual scorers for the Knights were Dalton Wells, 86; Swayde Carpenter, 95; Blake Carpenter, 124; and Dylan Tippins, 129.
2011 Silver Knight golf team
"Our players and coaches were all disappointed in our showing at this year's Regional," said head coach of the Silver Knights, Joe Griffith. "We knew going into the match that without Corey Wells who is out with a knee injury, we didn't have much of a chance of going on as a team. But we thought we would be able to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack. We also thought that either Dalton or Swayde had a chance to qualify for the state tournament as an individual. But none of those goals happened. The course was in beautiful condition and the weather was very comfortable; it just wasn't a good day on the golf course for our players."
"This was kind of a strange season for us," Griffith said. "We had only three returning players from last year's squad of 12, but they were all three excellent players. Unfortunately, in regular season matches, we must count four scores. So I did more recruiting over the spring and summer than I ever have, even calling some potential players out of the blue to see if they would consider joining us. Several responded to my invitation, and we built our roster back to nine total, with six of them beginning golfers. Some had never played even a single hole of golf before; their experience was limited to hitting plastic balls during the golf unit in their gym class. Assistant coach Jerry Zwick and I had a lot of teaching to do, from the basics up."
"We never did find a solid fourth score to add to the returnees, but I have to say that both coach Zwick and I are very proud of the way that the new players worked at their games. Some of them went from missing the ball entirely off the tee to being able to hit decently straight and long drives. Their progress was exponential. But most people can't learn to play quality golf in just eight weeks, so the scores for the beginners were often 10, 20 or more strokes higher than our first three players. Five of those six new players will be back for next year, so they will have time to practice before their next season."
"Our two returning senior co-captains led the way this year-Swayde Carpenter and Dalton Wells. They were both able to post some impressive scores throughout the season. Dalton hit even par at Crispin and Swayde was only three over at Williams, with both of these scores coming the first time the players saw the course. Dalton was also named to the All-OVAC Tournament Team during that competition. They are both good players and quality young men that I have enjoyed having on the team for four years now. The third senior was Dylan Tippins, a first year player. He had played some golf before, and at times his scoring was good. We wish he had joined the team several years ago."
"Our other returnee was sophomore Corey Wells. He also scored a three over par at Williams on his first time playing there, and this sparked the promise of a high finish for him and the rest of the team at regionals. But a knee injury from his freshman year flared up again late in the season and he was forced to withdraw from several matches in a row. He will be the leader of next year's team, and will be doing therapy between now and then to strengthen his knee."
"Without a solid fourth score to count in matches, our overall record of 18-49 fell considerably short of our goal, but this team has been a good one to work with. Even when the scores were high, they remained positive and were ready to work to improve for the next match. Coach Zwick and I very much enjoyed working with this year's team."
As for Zwick who has assisted Griffith all year, he said, "After finally being able to complete a full golf season with the team, it was fulfilling to see the overall progression of the individual golfers. In addition to that, I was able to reflect on goals that had been set. Some of our goals were met while others will still be there for us to achieve next year. It was an up and down season but regardless of golf scores, the players were always a joy to be around."