Curwensville golf program back after one-year hiatus|
Saturday, August 18, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
CURWENSVILLE - After cutting the program for a year, the Curwensville Area School District reinstated the boys and girls golf teams for the 2012-13 school year, and welcomed Mike Bookhamer as the new head coach.
Curwensville golf was among several programs that were cut last year in order to save the district money, but the community rallied behind its linksters and the sport is back.
"Last year, due to Governor (Tom) Corbett's budget cuts the school made a decision to keep as many academic programs as possible, and some other programs were cut.
"There was a big uproar in the school. The community really wanted their golf team. Everybody came out of the woodwork. So when the money got reinstated, the first thing that was done was the golf team was brought back."
Not only was the community vocal, but it also did what it could to help out, especially the Casteel family and the members of Eagles Ridge Golf Club, where Curwensville practices and plays its home matches.
"We're just trying to resurrect the whole thing," Bookhamer said. "The community really came together. I was stunned. We had nothing. We had no golf balls, no clubs ... we had 22 golf bags but not one club. The community has really helped out. Eagles Ridge has been helping out an awful lot. They've really stepped up. They asked some of their members for clubs and the members have donated some of their stuff.
"And the Casteels made a donation, and we're going to get some netting and have an indoor golf range, kind of like a batting cage for baseball. So we bought the netting and some other things with the donation from Keely and the Casteels. That is going to be invaluable for the program. The kids will be able to hit balls all year long, even in the winter."
Bookhamer couldn't be more appreciative of all the support he and the team have received, especially being a first-year head coach and really wanting the kids at Curwensville to have the opportunity to play golf.
"Three years ago I had to quit coaching football because my mother had cancer and I needed to be there to be able to take her places," he said. "She died in March and I was like, okay, now what am I going to do?' The football program was taken care of. But the golf job opened, and I thought it was just going to collapse if someone didn't take it.
"So I took it and ran with it. I wanted to make sure the kids had a coach. And it's been great. The kids have been fantastic. I'm really happy I took the job."
And now Bookhamer is working on getting more kids out for the team.
He does have eight letterwinners from the 2010 team, but only a total of 14 and just four girls.
"I'm hoping to find a few more. I'm recruiting," Bookhamer said. "Lydia (Opalisky) just came out and she's going to golf for us. And I have one or two more girls I am trying to recruit.
"When I got the job, I told the board my big thing was just to get numbers out. I think it's important the kids learn to play golf. I told my kids, ‘if you're going into the business world at all, you need to play golf and you need to play tennis.'
"In a lot of interviews, they take you right out on the golf course and see how you do. Are you a club thrower? How do you handle adversity? So I think it's important for the kids to learn to golf. It's part of growing up. There's etiquette. You have to act differently. You're around a different set of people."
As for the 2012 varsity season, Bookhamer is just taking it a day at a time.
"I'm not quite sure what to expect because I don't know what's out there," he said. "The boys are pretty seasoned. I don't what to put the cart before the horse, but if we could hit .500 I would be happy.
"With the girls, I think they've won two matches in five years. So if we can win a match or two, I'll be happy. It's going to be a building year."
The boys team is led by senior letterwinners Kyle Sarvis and Bryce Sharon and junior letterwinners Tanner Elensky, Brett Gardner and Jason Thorp.
Thorp will be the Tide's No. 1, followed by Gardner, Sarvis and Elensky. Sharon and freshman Gage Baughman are both in the mix for the fifth spot.
Bookhamer thinks several of his boys have a chance to place at the end of the season in the District 9 Championships.
"Jason has a real good shot at competing for a district championship," he said. "And Brett and a few of the other guys I think could place also. But again, you don't want to get the cart before the horse."
Senior letterwinner Sammi Test is the likely girls' No. 1, followed by junior letterwinner Julia Test and senior letterwinner McKenzie Hamilton. Opalisky is the Lady Tide's fourth golfer.
"The kids have been really great with me making suggestions," Bookhamer said. "They've worked on things. I've told them, ‘try this, it works for me.' And they go out and try it. They're figuring out their games right now."
"We're just trying to build right now. We'll see what happens this year and go from there."
The boys open the season Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Brookville, while the girls' first match is an all-league meet Aug. 30 at Eagles Ridge Golf Club.
*Kyle Sarvis. *Bryce Sharon.
*Tanner Elensky, *Brett Gardner. *Jason Thorp.
Logan Aften, Kyle Sharon, Aryan Shearer, Austin Swatsworth.
*McKenzie Hamilton, *Sammi Test.
21-at Brookville, 10 a.m.; 23-at Punxsutawney, 10 a.m.; 27-DuBois Central Catholic, 2:30 p.m.; 29-Brockway, 2:30 p.m.
4-at Clearfield, 1 p.m.; 5-DuBois, 2:30 p.m.; 10-Punxsutawney; 13-at Brockway; 15-at Bradford Tournament, TBA; 17-at DuBois Central Catholic; 20-Brookville; 26-at DuBois.
4-Clearfield, 3 p.m.
Matches begin at 3:30 p.m. unless noted.
30-All-league meet with Brockway, Brookville, DuBois, Punxsutawney and Ridgway.
4-at DuBois; 5-at Brockway; 10-at Punxsutawney; 11-at Brookville; 13-at Ridgway; 18-at DuBois; 20-at Clearfield, 1 p.m.; 24-at Punxsutawney; 25-at Ridgway; 27-All-league meet.
Matches begin at 3 p.m. unless noted.