With the Regionals played two weeks ago, and the state tournament now over, the end has come to the 2012 West Virginia High School Golf season. Though they saw their ups and downs on the courses of the Ohio Valley, the Silver Knight golfers each say they have learned from their experiences.
"As a senior captain, I can have a positive outlook on my season," said Luke Carpenter. "I improved my game and will continue to play as I grow older. I am glad that I was part of the golf team, if only for two years."
"Also," he said, "I was lucky enough to share another season with my brother."
Carpenter says he has faith in next year's team, "We had a lot of underclassmen this year, and they have a lot of talent for the future."
Fellow senior and team mate, Mitchell Higgins said he also had a lot of fun on the course during the year. "My season was up and down. Despite the scores, I had a great time with everyone," he said. "I'm sad that it is over, I really enjoyed everything in my two years on the team."
"Thanks to my coaches, I will have something to do when I am too old to play any other sports. I will be able to golf my whole life, and for that, I am thankful."
With eight of the 13 players being new to the sport of golf, and four of the other five having only year of experience under their belts, coach Griffith said he was not expecting to see a winning season. "But the team showed progress throughout the season, and we finished with an overall record of 19-60," he said.
"Our two seniors, Luke Carpenter and Mitchell Higgins, were both in only their second year of play, so their scores showed the inconsistency that comes with limited playing experience. Some rounds their scores were really helpful to the team, but other days, they really struggled. Both of them are fine quality young persons, and I know that they will both continue to play golf throughout their lives. Coach Zwick and I are very glad that they joined us these past two years."
"Corey Wells played in our number one position throughout the season. He was all-tournament at both North Bend and St. Marys, along with being medalist at two other matches. Every match he played in this season, he was the low scorer among those on our team. He also was our first state qualifier in five years, so he had a great season and we look for even better things next year."
"Exchange student Nikolaj El Cheikh from Denmark joined the team late in the season and was able to play in only one match. He was completely new to the game, so his form was rather raw, but he was still able to connect quite well with his shots."
Sophomores on the team included returnees Blake Carpenter and Johnathan Lancaster, plus new players Travis Baker, Sean Camerlin and Nathan Kemp.
"Kemp and Camerlin quickly moved into the number two and three positions, respectively," Griffith said. "They just started the game back in the spring, and they showed great improvement. Lancaster and Carpenter were also able to post scores that often counted for the team, while Baker's scores really started to come down toward the end of the season. We look for a lot of practice in the off-season from this group; they will be a major part of next year's team."
Four freshmen were part of the Knight golf team this season, including Kellsi Anderson, Adam Cooper, Ty Pratt and Justin Williams. "Like everyone else on this year's team, they were a fine group to work with," said the coach. "We spent a lot of time on the practice range and it showed as the season progressed. Pratt's game was good enough to get him into a number of varsity matches. The rest of the first-year players are showing good promise for the future."
Assisting Griffith for the past couple of years has been assistant coach Jerry Zwick, who has brought his own excitement into the program. "We had a lot more interest in golf this season than I expected starting out," Zwick said. "Many of our beginner players had never played before or had only played at our home course. Even though most of our team consisted of beginner golfers, we were able to still be competitive in our golf matches."
"Corey Wells, our number one golfer throughout the season, had a nagging knee injury at the end of last season that negated him the opportunity to play at Regionals for a chance to qualify for the State Tournament. This year, even with his knee still bothering him from time to time, he did qualify for the State Tournament. I was very proud of him and glad to see that the time and practice he has put in over the years paid off."
All-in-all, it has been a very productive and learning year for the Knight golfers, facts that are not lost on the coaching staff.
"Coach Zwick and I have had an enjoyable time instructing and working with this year's group of players," Griffith said. "He has been a great help to the team for the past four years, but he will be taking some time off from coaching with the upcoming arrival of his first baby. I appreciate all that he has done for the team and will certainly miss having him as an assistant."
Plans are already in the making for the 2013 golf season. It is hoped that the young golfers on the team will get out and work on their game in the off season and new batch of young, enthusiastic players will join the group next year.