WJ golf starts on positive note

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Photo courtesy of Owen Porter

Junior Owen Porter lines up his tee shot. Porter has been an instrumental part of WJ’s early success this season.

After a promising fifth-place finish in conference play last season, the 2018 WJ golf team looks to continue their positive momentum. With many of last year’s players graduating last spring, WJ’s underclassmen will be required to make large contributions if they want to leave their mark once again on the rest of the county.

WJ has managed to finish third in their first two matches, and second in their next two so far this season, a positive sign for the young team. Sophomore Jake Griffin has excelled in a leadership role, ranking second in the state of Maryland for the class of 2021.

“I’d definitely say that I have some added responsibilities this season with only a handful of junior and seniors on the team. I feel like I need to lead by example for the younger players,” Griffin said.

After much of the team graduated last spring, this year’s underclassmen have stepped up. Another player who has shined for WJ in the early going has been junior Owen Porter.

“It’s definitely been a solid start to the season,” Porter said. “Hopefully we can ride this early momentum and keep progressing as a team. The fact that there are so few upperclassmen this year just means that the young players get a chance to shine, so I’ve just been trying to make the most of this opportunity.”

In the season opener, WJ finished third behind Whitman and Churchill. WJ finished with 158 total strokes, enough to trump BCC’s 174. The team believes that it can build off its hot start to push on for a bid at the statewide competition in November.

“That’s the goal for the team this year. Getting to states and potentially winning it would be an amazing accomplishment for both myself and the team as a whole,” Griffin said after finishing first on WJ with just 35 strokes in the first match.

Griffin currently ranks fourth in Maryland with an average of just over 36 strokes per game, putting him in second place among sophomores.

In the second match, WJ finished third behind Churchill and Quince Orchard with 160 total strokes and ahead of last-place Northwest. Freshman Jake Frost and sophomore Ben Files led the team with 42 strokes each. Head coach Thomas Wheeler is also very excited for the rest of the season after a bright start from the young Wildcats.

We are pleased with the results for this very young team so far this year. We have four wins and five losses after three matches and we hope to qualify the whole team for states next Monday at Districts at Poolesville Golf Course,” Wheeler said.

Up next for WJ is Districts on Monday, October 1.

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