Words: Jeramy Stavlas
Photos: Noorie Kazmi
Walking around the hallways of Centennial High School during the fall sports season, a typical student will hear about the soccer team’s huge win, the football team’s latest game, or the field hockey highlights. One thing no student ever hears of though is the Centennial golf team’s outstanding performance.
This season, the Eagles’ boys and girls teams have each won five of their six matches, only losing to the perennially good Marriotts Ridge team. Led by seniors Ty Sams and Morgan Taylor, the Eagles look to capture this year’s county championship. Not only are they winning their matches, the competition isn’t even close, highlighted by a 52-0 win over Long Reach by the girls, and an 80-29 win over Hammond by the boys.
Centennial’s recent loss to Marriotts Ridge was upsetting for the Eagles as it was their biggest match of the season yet, but they will still go on to play in the county championship, seeking their revenge. According to seven-year head coach Stephen Lee, this is the team’s best chance to defeat Marriotts Ridge, who is competing for their sixteenth-straight county title.
Lee believes this is the strongest team he’s had in all his years of coaching by far.
“We play as a team of four, so usually we have a good one and two, but the three and four aren’t quite there to support them. This year our number three and four and actually five are all right within that mix.”
Coach Lee believes the students’ minimal focus on the golf team is due to the school having a small team and a lack of understanding for the sport. He also says that due to a short season, it’s hard to gain attention from students as they’re more focused on starting school.
“We already had two matches before school even started,” Coach Lee said. “We’re wrapping our season up pretty soon, and everybody is just getting into school.”
Team captain Ty Sams has played for the team all four years of high school and has made the all-county second team twice. He is currently competing for his third appearance in his senior year. In that time, he has represented the Eagles at states twice. Sams says he’s not bothered by the lack of attention surrounding the golf team.
“It doesn’t really phase me much,” he commented. He is more focused on making sure he plays his best, whether he gets recognition or not. “Some of my friends, they mess around and say that golf isn’t a sport, but then I take them out to the course and they struggle to get the ball in the air, so it kind of humbles them after they see that.”
Over the past couple years, the team has slowly started to draw more interest as many underclassmen are joining the team and making a big impact early in their high school careers. Freshman Erin Jeong has stepped into a top-two role on the girls’ team this year, and quickly fit in with her new teammates.
“At first I was really nervous because I had never played before and it’s my first year of golf, but my team was really nice, so it was really fun this year,” Jeong said.
Jeong believes that if the team is able to continue their success through the end of the season, more students will hear about the team schoolwide, and some might decide they want to start playing for the team in future seasons. “If we get the county championship, we can maybe convince other students to play golf.”
With a bigger roster and a county championship, the Centennial Golf team could possibly start to get the recognition they deserve.
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