The Boys' Latin Golf Team

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2011 Match Summaries

Post-Season Quarterfinals
Boys' Latin vs Gilman
May 16, 2011

On the heels of completing their finest regular season A Conference showing, Boys' Latin (4-4) traveled to the Elkridge Club in order to face-off against the Greyhounds of Gilman (4-3-1) in the quarterfinal match of the conference's 4th & 5th ranked squads.  A grey sky and an ever-present threat of thunderstorms seemed like an old-hat backdrop for the teams, who had both navigated a season of mostly inclement weather en route to notching their respectable standings.  The day promised a tight contest - with both teams amassing similiar records, and a Greyhound home course advantage off-set by a regular season Laker victory on the same soil.  

Boys' Latin knew its mission and understood its purpose on the day.  The Lakers were reminded of how far thay had come in their development as competitors on the season - that they had learned the value of discipline, intention and integrity; the difference between playing to win and playing not to lose; the importance of playing their game their way rather than playing to their opponent; the power of peer affirmation, ownership of circumstance and purposeful engagement.  They stood before one another prior to the match's inception as an empowered unit of collective strength - a team that had developed together across a season's journey on and off the golf course.  Teammates.  Friends.  Lakers.

The day would find the two teams battling across the Elkridge linksland.  And while the matches would invariably tilt the way of the opposition, the Lakers stood firm in their resolve.  Never did they tire.  Never did they quit.  Shot after shot they executed with full focus and intention.  For this was not a team that rolled over - not a team that cried uncle.  That reality showed across the day's contests, with a few highlights worth noting:

Danny Murphy came to the tee box on the part three 4th hole one down to his Gilman counterpart.  When his opponent found the green's center, Murphy dug deep to produce his best swing of the match's front side: a pure 7 iron from 154 yards.  It sailed at the flagstick, never waivering from its intended target, and came to rest 20 feet short of the cup.  The Laker three man would make the putt for birdie and recapture an all-square position in the match's front side.  That would be one of two birdies that Murphy would record on the day in what was one of his finest competitive showings on the season.  Managing an ever-improving game that boasts increased yardage and an always deft short game, the Laker sophomore continues to shine as one of the most promising young players in the conference.

Ben Feild came to the final hole of the match's front side all square with his opponent - and continued in his resolve to give the day his absolute best effort, one shot at a time.  It was a resolution he would keep, and one that would produce a remarkable result on the hole.  Feild launched his tee shot on the unique downhill par four - which found the fairway in an upper-tier landing zone.  His approach shot was struck beautifully, rising to its crest before falling toward the hole.  The shot would come to rest within two feet of the flagstick, and Feild would make the subsequent putt for a birdie three - thereby winning the hole and the match's front side.  Feild, a Junior, first year starter, and team co-captain, battled tough throughout the day, and in doing so, reflected the on-course maturity of a seasoned veteran and squad leader.

And then, as has been said frequently over the course of recent history, there was Bennett Wisner.

In what may have been his most challenging contest to date, the Laker Freshman took on his top-ranked Gilman opponent.  The Greyhound had just won the MIAA Individual Championship, and stands to be named Player of the Year by the Conference before heading to High Point University in the Fall.  His on-course presence is sizable and brings to mind images of folklore.  He drives greens on par fours (something he did once in his match against Wisner, making eagle accordingly).  He makes putts from places where others would be satisfied with a successful lag.  He's gregarious and overly engaging - boisterous at times.  You'd expect him to be fifty feet tall, weild an axe and ride a big blue ox across the golf course.  Everything about the Gilman Senior is big and strong.  And this was his home turf.

The Greyhound took an early lead on the Laker Freshman, winning the first hole after blasting from the trees to within eight feet of the hole on the uphill par four - this in the face of Wisner's sailing of the green after splitting the fairway with his tee shot.  The Gilman starter continued to overpower the course with his length, and built a modest lead over Wisner in the process.  

It was a lead that would be short lived.

Bennett Wisner, dubbed "the piranha" by his coaches, refused to be intimidated by his opponent's presence.  He took ownership of his challenge, and executed his game plan according to his own strengths and design.  And, after going two down through five holes, he rallied to win the sixth with birdie in order to close the front side one-down.  This birdie would be one of three straight - and the beginning of a second-half rally that found the first-year Laker starter winning six consecutive holes against the Gilman colossus!  That's no typo.  Six consecutive holes.  And when the Greyhound's birdie putt came up a half rotation short on the final hole - his subsequent dropped jaw / tossed putter response said it all: Bennett Wisner had won the back side and halved the total match against the mighty Gilman giant.  In doing so, he affirmed his presence as promising rising star - one who marries talent with integrity, dynamic skill with strength of character.  It was a match for the ages.  And one that will be remembered for a long time.

Boys' Latin ends their season with over-arching accomplishment, satisfaction and hope.  They made it into the post season for the second consecutive year, compiling their finest-ever regular season record and over-turning two teams in the process whom they had never before beaten.  They boast the youngest team in the conference with all starters returning; and have the top-ranked Freshman (Wisner) in the MIAA.  They have three middle-schoolers moving up next year and multiple student-transfers in process.  The team's future continues to shine with promise and ongoing opportunities for growth and development.

2012, here we come.

Final Score:  Boys' Latin: 3  /  Gilman: 18

Boys' Latin vs Archbishop Spalding
May 12, 2011

Every now and then, while we're in the midst of hurried action, we're handed a brief, fleeting freeze-frame that brandishes itself into our memory with the magnitude of the circumstance.  Every so often, we get a spontaneous snapshot that strips the noise, leaving for our digestion the mere authenticity of the moment's substance.

Peering through the treeline of the regular season's final hole, on-lookers could make out the broad-shouldered silhouette of Henry Knott.  As the sun set behind him, casting dancing lines of light across his squinting stare, Knott alternated his attention between the ball and the target - blinked once, then drew his iron back into motion.  His follow-through was balanced.  His finish was held as the ball reached its apex.  That moment.  That snapshot.  Pure perfection...

The Lakers welcomed Archbishop Spalding to the Suburban Club for the season's final regular season match.  Boys' Latin had fallen to Calvert Hall the day prior; and having done so, moved into a position where a tie or an outright victory was necessary against Spalding in order to notch a berth into the post-season.  What's more, Spalding was in a similar position - needing a win against Boys' Latin in order to gain entry into the playoffs.  It was quite clearly a make or break match for both teams.

Boys' Latin had alternated losses and wins through the season - losing the first, winning the second, losing the third, winning the fourth, losing the fifth, winning the sixth.  Having lost the seventh, they hoped their trend of alternating outcomes would continue.  But they knew it wouldn't be easy.  Spalding had anchored excellent showings against teams that had handed significant losses to Boys' Latin.  What's more, they had streaky players - and an old team, made-up primarily of seniors with plenty of tournament experience.  And while the Lakers held the advantage of home course, it was difficult to shake the reminder that never in the school's history had Boys' Latin defeated Archbishop Spalding on the golf course.  Never.  Not once.

And so, the stage was set.  It was to be a nail-biting, barn-burner of a contest - one that would pit two hungry squads against each other in a match to decide the post-season fates of both teams. 

Bennett Wisner and Will Guy continued to anchor their growing reputation as the toughest one-two punch in the MIAA.  Knowing that they needed to secure as many points as possible from the available seven, the conference's top-ranked Freshman and the cool and collected team co-captain took to the task with full intention and clear purpose.  Guy took an early lead and held it throughout the day - sweeping his opponent of all three points.  Wisner, having battled to half the front side, dug deep to win the back and total matches.  Together, Wisner and Guy won the team point - and in doing so, took six and a half of seven possible points from their opposition.  A classic moment came in an exchange near the 6th green between a spectator and Coach Vaughn following Bennett Wisner's split of the match's front side.  Said the on-looker "Your #1 player looks a little red in the face.  A bit flush.  Is he alright?"  Said Coach Vaughn "That's what he looks like before a rally."  ...Wisner won four of the next five holes.

Partnered in the three and four slots, Danny Murphy and Dylan Watts were each celebrating their birthday.  Born on the same day, a year apart, the Sophomore and the Freshman spent their birthday afternoons in classic fashion - battling their Spalding opponents in a team-point tug-of-war that found the match going the full distance.  Having won the front side and total matches, Watts entered the second-to-last hole one-up on his opponent on the back side - and had combined with Murphy to boast a one-up position at the same point.  But when a chip came-up short and a subsequent putt didn't fall, Watts fell back to all-square heading into the final hole.  What's more, the team point was also all-square.  Standing on the final tee, Watts and Murphy knew the circumstance.  Win the hole and the overall match is halved - anchoring a playoff slot for Boys' Latin.  Anything less would result in no such guarantees, and possible a loss altogether.  With true balance and focus, the two players took to the final tee box.  Murphy played aggressively down the par five's left side.  Watts blasted his own drive down the fairway's center.  Murphy would pitch-out from a buried lie in the rough.  Watts would smash a fairway wood up the fairway's right side - setting up an approach shot that would find the green accordingly.  They would combine to split the team point - appropriate for fellow birthday-boy partners.  And Watts would drain his second putt for an outright victory.  As he lifted his ball from the cup and raised his glance to his teammates, Dylan Watts had a smile that out-shined the afternoon sun.

The match now at least halved, the Lakers turned their hopes to Juniors Ben Feild and Henry Knott for a much-needed half point that would anchor victory over Spalding.  Feild had fallen in the match's front side but stood on the second-to-last hole only one-down.  Knott had split the front side and stood on the same tee box two down on the back and total.  With only two holes remaining, Knott would need to win them both in order to earn the associated half points.  Feild launched his drive down the fairway's center.  Knott followed with a similar blast.  When their opponents found the left rough, it was apparent that the advantage might have turned in BL's favor.  Feild's opponent would find the right fringe with his second, however - and subsequently drain a twenty footer from off the green for birdie - a tough reality, given Feild's strong effort to rally into the close.  Feild had kept Knott in the game throughout the day, by assisting with alignment and leadership through affirmation.  And with his match over, the Junior Co-Captain took to the sidelines with the same sense of encouragement that had helped him support his teammate and friend throughout the afternoon.  "Come on, Henry!" he called.  "You've got this, bro!"

Knott's approach from the fairway came to rest in the back of the green's center.  His subsequent two-putt was good enough for the victory.  He would move to the final hole, one down with one to play - the weight of the over-all match's outcome riding on the broad shoulders of the first-year starter.

His swing from the tee box was pure.  His drive was pounded down the center - a moderately high trajectory that turned off its line ever so gently to fall left before rolling forward.  "Attaway Henry" his teammates shouted from the sidelines. "Great swing, Henry" they said.

His opponent over-cooked a hard-draw that caught the thick rough on the left side.  This would set-up a difficult recovery effort that invariably found the Spalding six man notching a bogey on the hole.

Sticking to his routine, Knott struck a fairway wood up the center.  

Then, the moment...  

Staring through the tree line, we saw it - the posing posture of a player tracking his shot as the ball rises into its arc.  Shadows fell across the fairway as his squinting stare followed the approach.  Turning our gaze away from the Laker anchor man, we saw the ball fall to the earth - coming to rest not next to the hole, but in thick rough, short and right of the green...

You may have thought the Laker Junior deserved better - that for all of his hard work and that of his peers, the ball should have found the green.  Well, it didn't.  And, as was said in the pre-match comments by the coaches, the only thing that each of the boys were entitled to was the opportunity to compete.  Henry knew that.  He accepted that.  He didn't make excuses.  He didn't look at the shot and kick the dirt - thinking that he was owed something or entitled to a better result.  He didn't blame mud on his ball or someone talking in his backswing.  He didn't tell himself he got a bad break or was unlucky.  Nope.  He just owned his circumstance.  He manned-up.  He took his position as his own - and resolved to do his best with what he had before him - an up and down attempt to win it all. And that, dear reader, is what it's all about.

And so it was that Henry Knott chipped from that thick greenside rough - his ball landing on the fringe before rolling to within inches of the hole.  And when he tapped-in for par, Henry had won the hole, halved his match, and secured an outright win for Boys' Latin.  It was a victory he will own for a lifetime.

Boys' Latin defeated Archbishop Spalding for the first time in school history.  In doing so, they secured a playoff berth with a 4-4 record in the regular season.  They enter the playoffs as the #5 seed - and it appears evident that they will face Gilman in the first round of the post-season.  Boys' Latin now boasts the youngest team in the conference, the most successful team in school history, the top-ranked freshman in the MIAA, and the momentum of champions as they head into the playoffs.  

Final Score:  Boys' Latin: 11.5  /  Archbishop Spalding: 9.5


Boys' Latin vs Calvert Hall
May 11, 2011

The Lakers hosted perennial conference contender, Calvert Hall at the Suburban Club in what would be the second-to-last home match for Boys' Latin this season.  Boasting a line-up of elder statesmen, three of whom are committed for college teams this Fall, Calvert Hall ranked third in the A Conference standings.  Nevertheless, believing that they needed one win from their final two matches in order to advance into the post-season, Boys' Latin took to the links with focus and determination.

Inspired by their recent victory over John Carroll and Bennett Wisner's fifth place finish in the Individual Championship, the Lakers announced their presence early with strong starts by Juniors Ben Feild and Will Guy, as well as Freshman, Wisner.  Each would win the final hole of the match's first half; and in doing so, notch much needed points for the Laker squad.  At the match's midway point, Boys' Latin trailed Calvert Hall by a mere point - and with momentum on their side, the Lakers focused on continuing their performance into the second half.  Guy lead the charge - winning the back and total matches against his opponent after winning the final hole on the front side to split the first half.  Following his initial lead was Feild, who also won the first half's last hole to split the front.  And Wisner won the front with a remarkable up-and-down on its last hole.  He would battle across the back side, taking his match the distance accordingly.  

But their Cardinal opponents would stage a rally of their own.  Birdie followed birdie across many of the six matches - a collective performance that would find Boys' Latin on the unfortunate side of a late-inning Calvert Hall surge.  But the Lakers never quit.  They never stopped moving forward.  In the face of ever-deepening challenge, they never gave in.  This refusal to yield was an inspiring reality for such a young squad.  Boys' Latin continued to show the manifest development of its on-course maturation.  Indeed, they've never been stronger and as they prepare to face-off against Archbishop Spalding in the season's final contest, they bring to the table their collective best - a good thing indeed, given the weight of purpose on the outcome.

Final Score:  Boys' Latin: 4  /  Calvert Hall: 17

Boys' Latin vs John Carroll
April 27, 2011

Boys' Latin played host to John Carroll in what was just the second home match for the Lakers in 2011.  After taking to the road for all but one contest, Boys' Latin was happy for the chance to hold a home course advantage.  Prior matches with John Carroll had proven to be perennial nail-biters - typically bearing with them the weight of post-season births and/or considerable pride.  Oftentimes the matches went the distance with the five and six men deciding the outcome on the last green.  Though weighty, the rivalry has always been friendly - a refreshing relality in light of the gravity aligned with the squads' competitive history.

A young team with seasoning talent, Boys' Latin had grown from each of the season's contests to-date.  With the sting of a loss to Loyola still turning their gut, the Lakers stoked their competitve fire with a renewed committment to on-course excellence.  Vowing to play to their own strengths, agreeing to affirm each other as teammates, anchoring a "see it, feel it, trust it" mantra within their pre-shot routine, and promising to focus on the substance of the challenge rather than the noise of the periphery, the Lakers took to the first tee with clear intention and purpose.

This vision would prove manifest in what would turn out to be their finest collective effort all season.

Hole after hole, shot after shot, Boys' Latin battled - each swing bringing crisp contact, each putt rolling true.  Divots flew and fists were pumped as the Laker squad managed their way around the first nine holes in near-unprecedented fashion.  Bennett Wisner hammered a 330 yard drive on the eighth hole.  Dylan Watts got up-and down from behind the fifth green after short-siding himself with an approach shot that sailed the flagstick.  Henry "Mudflap" Knott pitched over the ornamental treeline & landscaping - a blind shot if ever there was one - to within ten feet on the sixth hole.  Ben Feild laced his second shot on the par-four first hole to within fifteen inches, setting up a birdie at the opener.  Will Guy rolled-in putts like it was his job, marrying a balanced course management approach with a hot short game.  And Danny Murphy continued to add length to his tee shots - and blasted his way around the course with an ever-growing bomb-and-gouge mentality.

Across the first nine holes, Wisner would shoot 38; Guy, a 37; Murphy, a 39; Watts, a 43; Feild, a 43; and Knott, a 42.  Remarkable showings that would anchor an early victory in the front and total sides for the Lakers.  What's more, the hot trend would continue into the second half - and Boys' Latin secured victories in the back side and team points as well.  In fact, at day's end, all available points would be collected by the Lakers for their effort on the day - full sweeps in matches one through six - a rarity indeed, and one that reflected the A-games that were brought to the contest by the young Boys' Latin squad.

With another victory in-hand, the Lakers move back to .500 ball on the season for in-conference matches - placing them on the cusp of post-season qualification.  Winning one of the final two contests appears to be a must for the Lakers.  With Calvert Hall up next, followed by Archbishop Spalding, the order is quite tall - but it's an opportunity that Boys' Latin awaits with fervor and renewed strength of spirit.  

Something happened in this match.  Something clicked.  Potential was realized.  Promise fulfilled.  A tipping point?  A momentum shift?  A turning of the tide?  The answers appear promising.  And while the questions abound, one thing's for sure ain't boring.

Final Score:  Boys' Latin: 21  /  John Carroll: 0

Boys' Latin vs Loyola
April 13, 2011

Someone was whistling "On the Road Again" as the Lakers donned their raingear, packed their umbrellas, and prepared for their sixth away match in seven contests.  This time the opponent was Loyola and the venue was the rolling terrain of Hunt Valley Golf Club - an ultra hilly and relatively tight course nestled in the countryside of North Baltimore County.  Still riding high from their defeat of Gilman two days prior, the Lakers were excited for the opportunity to face Loyola - a team they had beaten the year prior in order to secure their first-ever A Conference playoff birth.  And, true to form, this contest carried comparable weight - as the two schools entered the day with similar records and near-identical showings against prior opponents.  And, while the opposition held the advantage of home course, the Lakers appeared primed for the opportunity for having played so many matches on the road thusfar.

A light mist blanketed the first tee as the twelve competitors struck their tee shots - the Lakers outdueling their counterparts with well-struck drives to prime locations.  This would prove relatively indicative of the quality of shot-making that was to come, as Boys' Latin continued to deliver in categories of ball-striking and total driving - but alas fell short in greenside execution and course management.  Against an opposing team that was more than reasonable tee-to-green and excellent on the dance floor, the Lakers fell victim to an unfortunate defeat.

Notable performances for Boys' Latin include Will Guy, who swept his opponent of all three points, and who combined with Bennett Wisner in collecting the coveted team point.  Guy's performance included a front nine score of thirty-nine that included a doubt-bogey at the eighth.  Guy continues to improve and develop as a competitor and a leader - and combines a characteristic balanced demeanor with considerable personal ambition.

Danny Murphy hung tight with his opponent and rallied late in the first half in order to win a point for the match's front side.  The Laker sophomore and second-year starter married a hot driver with an always-consistent short game to grind his way through a hard-fought afternoon.  Murphy would halve the total match and in doing so, collect one and a half points for his team.

Ben Feild, the Laker co-captain and first year starter, dug deep to win the match's second half after losing the front three-down.  The Junior maintains a significant level of self-accountability and was disappointed with his showing in the first half.  With three holes to play, Feild was one down on the match's second side - leaving him in a frame of mind which was no less worse.  Taking pause to regroup, Feild actively decided to rededicate himself to the final three holes.  Finding his focus and re-anchoring his determination, he fought his way to winning two of the remaining three.  In doing so, he won the back side and locked-in a well-deserved point for the team.

In golf as in life, one is either moving forward or moving backward.  There are no still waters.  The Lakers had a choice in the parking lot of Hunt Valley Golf Course - to either a) grow from the experience of the day's loss or b) worsen for having been defeated.  In accepting the reality of growth, they took pause to contemplate the difference between playing to win and playing to not lose, the impact of positive and negative self-talk, and the importance of teamwork between partners.  All three of these lessons were hard-learned that afternoon - but they are lessons that will stick with these Boys' Latin players for a long, long time.

Expect the Lakers to play to win in the time ahead.  John Carroll is up next.

Final Score:  Boys' Latin:  6.5  /  Loyola:  14.5

Boys' Latin vs Gilman
April 11, 2011

2007: Loss, 1 to 20.  2008: Loss, 6.5 to 14.5.  2009: Loss, 9.5 to 11.5.  2010: Loss, 9.5 to 11.5.

Those were the results of the last four contests between Boys' Latin and Gilman.  What's more, they were merely reflective of a broader history of Laker suffering at the hands of the conference stalwart.  Truth be told, across the storied history of both schools, Boys' Latin had never succeeded in toppling the mighty Gilman squad.  Not once.  Never.  Combine that reality with the fact that the Greyhounds were once again storming their way through the season in 2011, stir in a little home course advantage a la the Elkridge Club, and you've got a recipe for challenge.

The Lakers understood their position of David to Giman's Goliath.  They recognized the role of underdog that they were to assume.  And, they relished in the opportunity to dig deep within themselves in order to produce a best-efforts showing that would upset the MIAA behemoth.  It was an opportunity they would seize.

Under a full blue sky, both teams rolled putts as cherry blossoms fell across the practice green.  It was a welcome alternative to the sleet, freezing rain and even snow that had blanketed prior 2011 contests.  Indeed, as temperatures climbed into the 80s and the sun shown across the lush fairways of Elkridge, it appeared as though Spring had finally arrived in the MIAA.  

Will Guy, playing against his top-ranked Greyhound opponent, split the fairway with the day's first tee shot.  The Laker co-captain continued to play with characteristic strength anchored in a calm and balanced demeanor.  With wrap-around Oakleys and a hat pulled low, Guy plodded his way through an afternoon that required substantial resolve and determination.  Regularly, he was outdriven by considerable yardage.  On more than a few occasions, his opponent made putts of substantial length.  So to speak, it was Guy's willpower that was put to the test - his ability to play to his own strengths and execute on a gameplan that was constructed around his own ownership of the circumstance.  It was a test the Laker Junior would pass.  And though at day's end he fell victim to a full sweep by his opponent, Will Guy succeeded in navigating through challenge without abandoning his convictions.  There's everything in the world to be said for that.

Freshman Bennett Wisner faced-off against an opponent who finished 2010 as one of the MIAA's top three players.  A multi-sport athlete, the Greyhound star had a strong on-course presence and a formidable style that married a hit-it-hard mentality with deft greenside touch.  But Wisner, still charged-up from the momentum associated with his showing against McDonogh, was up to the challenge.  The first-year Laker starter relied on consistency of ball-striking and short-game excellence en route to winning the front, back and total matches accordingly.  What's more, the one-two punch of Wisner/Guy served up an essential team point victory for Boys' Latin.

Junior Henry Knott and Freshman Dylan Watts battled hard throughout the afternoon.  Watts birdied the first after hitting his approach to eight feet from the left-side trees.  And Knott dug deep to hit the final two greens in regulation and subsequently recorded pars - forcing his opponent to do the same in order to secure a one-up victory.  While neither notched points for Boys' Latin, these two Laker starters exemplified discipline and intention across the linksland - and took their opposition to the final green of the final hole.  There was no better illustration of their committment to strategic execution than the second to last hole of the match's front side.  Watts' opponent drove first on the two-hundred eight-two yard par four - smashing a driver that flew at the green's right side, found the fringe, and then trickled into the rough-line of a bordering bunker.  Undaunted by the magnitude of the shot, Watts pulled his five-iron and hit his tee shot to the fairway's center.  Playing next, the first-year Laker starter hit his ninety-yard approach shot to within eight feet - forcing his opponent to execute a difficult greenside shot.  Dylan had seized the momentum, captured it with his own gameplan, and reversed it to his benefit.  Both players would make par.  But Watts would walk to the next tee with the advantage.

When the chips are down, Danny Murphy and Ben Feild are at their best.  The Laker Sophomore and Junior seem to rise to the occasion when the pressure is on.  Both were disappointed in their recent performances against McDonogh; and both were resolved to delivering a hard-fought battle against Gilman.  Feild took an early lead against his opponent that would anchor a point for the Lakers; and Murphy hung tight with his opponent before taking a late lead to victory in the match's front side.  What's more, Murphy and Feild would combine excellence in total driving with greenside prowess in order to notch a much-needed team point, 2 & 1 over their Greyhound counterparts.  Thus, with the team point closed out and the second side and total matches still in-play, Feild and Murphy played the final hole with the hopes of collecting all possible points from the opposition.  While standing on the green, Feild noticed a rules infraction relating to the discussion of strategy by teammates after the team point had been concluded.  In that moment, the Boys' Latin co-captain had two choices:  1) to lose for enabling violation of the rules or 2) to win for enforcing the rules.  He chose the latter, and rightfully so.  At day's end, the resulting loss-of-hole penalties associated with the breach would be the deciding factor in the match.

For the Lakers, it was a hard-fought day of dogged determination, intentional course management, and disciplined strategy.  It was a day when their resolve and their convictions would be tested.  It was a day that challenged their strength and fortitude by imposing against them the threat of discomfort and intimidation.  It was a day they would face and a day they would own.  And at its conclusion, it was a day of victory for Boys' Latin.

Final Score:  Boys' Latin: 11  /  Gilman: 10


Boys' Latin vs McDonogh
April 6, 2011

The Lakers played host to 2010 MIAA A Conference Champions McDonogh in the season's home opener.  The sun was shining and spirits were high as a full gallery lined the first tee in advance of the match's inception.  Still riding high from their recent defeat of St. Paul's, Boys' Latin had made a committment to bring their best to the afternoon's competition.  It was a menatlity that would prove manifest throughout the ensuing battle - one that would find the Lakers going the distance against the conference heavyweight.

The first group could have very well filled a highlight reel themselves - as Will Guy and Bennett Wisner took leads early and never relinquished their grip on the competition.  

Guy, starting his first match of the season in the number one position, executed his on-course gameplan with balance and efficiency.  Always remaining true to his own game and its strengths, Guy delivered his finest performance of the season and delivered a full sweep of his top-ranked McDonogh opponent. 

Wisner, still charged-up from his late-inning rally against St. Paul's, took to the task of anchoring his finest showing as a varsity starter.  Leveraging a bomb-and-gouge mentality, the Freshman remained focused and determined throughout the day - and when the dust settled, smiled for having collected two and a half points for his team - including a team point victory with partner, Guy.

With the first two players collecting six of a possible seven points, the remaining four Lakers needed only to win five of the remaining fourteen.  Alas, they could manage only a half point in aggregate.  Questionable course management and unfortunate short game woes kept the balance of the squad from capturing victory - and resulted in an unprecedented come-back victory for the opposition.

That having been said, when Stephen Sample stood on the second to last tee box - representing the final match of the contest - the four and a half points remaining on course between him and his teammates would have been enough for the Lakers to secure a win.  The match had, in fact, gone the distance; and was at day's end, a very close contest. 

While disappointed for the inability to seal victory from such close proximity, the Lakers were encouraged to have gone the distance against the 2010 Champions.  Spirits remain high as Boys' Latin faces top-ranked Gilman next with Loyola shortly thereafter.

Final Score:  Boys' Latin: 6.5  /  McDonogh: 14.5

Boys' Latin vs St. Paul's
March 30, 2011

Boys' Latin took to the road once again in the season's second contest - this time to face the Crusaders of St. Paul's at Baltimore Country Club.  Always an intense match-up, the competition held true to expectation - reflecting a rivalry that was nearly as bitter as the afternoon's weather.  Through the course of the match, the two sides battled snow, sleet and freezing rain as well as one another in what invariably proved to be an eventful and victorious showing for Boys' Latin.

St. Paul's has boasted some of the finest golf teams in MIAA history - at one point carrying a roster that found nine players finishing in the top ten of the individual championship.  Over the years, they have consistently proven themselves to be a formidable opponent and conference stalwart.  Overlay this with a long-standing posture of Laker/Crusader competition, and the result is a recipe for intensity.  

Boys' Latin had risen to overtake St. Paul's in each of the last two annual contests - but with four of six roster slots filled with fresh faces, it was a very different BL squad that took to the links in this year's match-up.  Nevertheless, they produced their best collective showing to date - and notched their first victory of the MIAA season, moving them back to .500 ball at 1-1 within the conference (2-1 overall).

Freshman Dylan Watts displayed the on-course maturity and balance of a competitor twice his age - and navigated his way around Baltimore Country Club with strategic intention.  Combining consistent ball-striking with a dramatically improved short game, the first-year starter collected all three points from his opponent and partnered with teammate Henry Knott to take a much-needed team point as well.  Watts continues to impress his teammates and coaches with his unique blend of style and substance - a true gentlemen competitor if ever there was one.

Junior Henry Knott, also a new addition to the team, took to the first tee ready to compete in his first-ever MIAA match.  And what was to come proved to be a reasonable foreshadowing of his afternoon's contest.  After hitting it in the trees, chipping out short, hitting over the green, and then in the water, Knott holed out from greenside to half the hole.  Watching Henry the remainder of the day proved to be no less eventful or exciting.  It was like watching Walter Hagen or Seve Ballesteros - one or two wayward shots would be followed by something miraculous.  Henry scrambled his way around the course and took his opponent the distance - garnering a well-deserved and much-needed half point for his efforts.  But the real take-away from witnessing Knott's effort was this:  he never, never, never gave up.  When he could have easily thrown in the towel for being in a position that was against the odds, he didn't.  When he was in dire straits where most competitors would have kicked the dirt and rolled over, Henry played on.  And...he succeeded.  His performance reflected the true grit of a hardened competitor and the pure heart of considerable integrity.  

Junior Ben Feild won his first eight holes....  No that's not a typo.  He won his first eight holes - and then noticed a rules infraction that helped his partner win the ninth.  No performance like that has ever been anchored by a Laker golfer.  Feild was dormie on the total match at the turn!  His opponent was no slouch, either - having put up a remarkable showing in his last contest against Gilman.  But Feild birdied the first and never looked back.  The Laker co-captain split fairways and hit greens in regulation all afternoon - and never slowed nor faltered in his quest toward victory.  At day's end, he had collected all three points and partnered with Sophomore Danny Murphy in halving a critical team point.  To say that Feild's performance was impressive is a massive understatement.

Speaking of understatement, soft-spoken but ever-firery Danny Murphy fought his way to collecting two and a half points of his own in the afternoon's contest.  Murphy, already a champion of the short game who rarely wastes an opportunity to get up & down from a greenside position, reached back for a few more yards in his long game and produced drives of up to twenty-yards past his seasonal average.  With a stiff upper lip and heavy steps, the second year starter battled back after losing the front side.  And, having fallen one down mid way through the second side, he found himself three down in the total match with only five holes to play.  Undaunted, Murphy dug deep...and proceeded to win four of those final five holes.  In doing so, he won points for the second half and the total match.  And then there was the putt... Murphy faced a twelve-foot, down-hill, curler on the final green to win the hole, split the team point, and win the entire match for Boys' Latin.  With nerves of steel and a heart of gold, he poured it into the center of the cup. Pumping his fist and smiling, Danny Murphy turned and faced his teammates' cheers.

Bennett Wisner came to the final two holes with a two-down position on the total match.  This was not too dissimilar to his position at Rolling Road, when he needed to win the last three holes to salvage a point against his Mt. St. Joe opponent.  And, as before, he succeeded.  Wisner dug within himself and blasted a gigantic drive on the next-to-last and subsequently won the hole.  Then, after his drive on the par five final hole found the hazard, he dropped accordingly and laid-up short to within one-hundred yards.  His opponent, having found a hazard of his own prior to chipping-out, also laid up short and was within similar distance.  Wisner played first and bunkered an open-faced wedge.  His opponent's approach landed short of the flag, spun back, rolled off the green, down a hill and into a hazard.  From there, the Crusader played from within the hazard and motivated the ball to within eight feet.  Wisner played from the bunker beautifully and blasted to within ten feet.  From the fairway, the coaches watched as Wisner examined and aligned the putt.  Freezing rain fell from the sky as the Laker Freshmen drew back his blade.  The putt started outside the cup as intended, then took the break...and disappeared into the bottom of the hole.  His opponent's putt would graze the edge, and fail to fall.  Bennett Wisner had won the hole and split the total match - anchoring an essential half point for what was then a hard-charging Laker squad.  In two straight matches, Wisner rallied from a deficit to overtake the odds - remarkable accomplishments for the first-year starter.

The story of the day may very well have been Junior Will Guy.  He was sick.  Very sick in fact.  Sniffling, sneezing and coughing, he had left practice the night prior and found himself with a deteriorating condition through the night.  Always the consummate teammate, he recognized his importance on the squad - and committed to doing his best to compete, given the weight of the match and its associated importance.  "Ill Will" as he was subsequently dubbed, downed some cold medication and took to the first tee with a determined look in the face of formidable odds.  They would be odds he would conquer.  Guy anchored his best performance of the year - and married an improved short game with increased consistency of ball-striking.  When miss-hits occurred, he would correct them with well-executed recovery shots.  Guy's performance reflected improved course management and a confidence anchored in maintaining full control of his circumstance.  After winning the final hole of the match's front side to halve the point, Guy never looked back and marched his way through the second half en route to winning the back and total points - as well as the team point with partner, Bennett Wisner.  And when it was said and done, Will Guy had battened the hatches, dug deep, and overtaken snow, sleet, freezing rain, a hard-charging opponent, and sickness - in winning nearly all possible points as the afternoon unfolded.  It was an amazing display of overcoming adversity in the face of substantial odds.  And as such, it was classic Will.  The kid never fails to impress.

Fresh off the victory against St. Paul's, Boys' Latin stands ready to face McDonogh next week in their season's home opener at the Suburban Club.

Final Score:  Boys' Latin: 14.5  /  St. Paul's: 6.5

Boys' Latin vs Mt. St. Joseph
March 24, 2011

Boys' Latin found themselves on the unfortunate side of a sizable upset for their first match of the 2011 season - but it wasn't an experience that came without some highlights and glowing indications of future achievement.

The Lakers traveled to Rolling Road Country Club to face-off against Mt. St. Joseph in what was the first contest for both squads this year.  With the one-two punch of piercing breezes and already low temperatures, the two teams battled it out across the rolling linksland engulfed in a wind chill of 37 degrees.  Rolling Road had yet to have been areified - and while standing water could still be seen in certain parts of the course, the green complexes were running as fast as if it had been mid June.

Mt. St. Joseph holds what is arguably the most significant home course advantage in its affiliation with Rolling Road.  The course, while remarkably short in length, twists and meanders through hills and valleys - serving up blind approaches and forcing precision in shot-workability throughout its design.  The opposition took full advantage of their familiarity with their home track, and navigated their way quite efficiently through an afternoon of harsh demands. 

For three of BL's six starters, this was their first MIAA match.  For one of them, it was his second in four years.  The team is quite young - and fresh in their journey as a team.  Their job in the day's circumstance was to learn individually and collectively - and to develop as players and as men as a result.  When they see Mt. St. Joseph again - perhaps in this year's post-season - they will be better prepared as a result, and ready for the opportunity to re-match.  

You might not have known it was near-freezing had you watched Junior Ben Feild's blazing hot performance at Rolling Road.  From the start, the team co-captain showed a firey desire to compete - and overlayed a grind-it out mentality with an efficiency of motion to battle his opponent successfully throughout the afternoon.  Feild's second shot on the par-four first hole - struck from behind a towering ash tree - landed in front of the cup and lipped out for eagle.  This proved to be a true warning shot across the bow of his opponent - as the Laker Junior hung tight to split the match's front side.  What's more, Field came into the final two holes needing to win each in order to half the back and total matches.  When a rules infraction cost his opponent the hole on the second-to-last, Feild captured the momentum he needed to take the reigns into the final hole.  And when he stood over a seven foot putt to win the hole accordingly, he sunk it without issue.  In doing so, Ben Feild, playing in his first competitive MIAA match, had won the final two holes in order to half his entire match against a strong opponent on a blistering March afternoon.

Also playing in his first MIAA match was Dylan Watts.  Watts, an engaging freshman with floppy hair and a contagious smile swings the club with a long and flowing motion - quite the contrast to his St. Joe opponent, who took quick, aggressive lashes at the ball and took on the course with a bomb and gouge mentality.  Undaunted by the absence of similarity, Watts remained true to himself and his game - never pretending to be someone he wasn't - and played his game his way.  In doing so, he hung tight with his opponent through the day and garnered a much-needed half point for the Laker squad.

And then there was Bennett Wisner.  The much-anticipated debut of the nationally-ranked freshman proved to be no-less exciting than one might have imagined.  In a rare showing of vulnerability, Wisner assumed an early deficit in his match - falling one down through the majority of the front side.  Then, on the first half's second to last hole, he rallied to win and pull to all square.  While it was a position he would release on the ensuing hole, it did foreshadow what was to come in act two.  The sweet-swinging Laker's challenges continued through the second side and it was evident to onlookers that he was disappointed in his position.  He arrived to the final three holes in a two down position - literally needing to win the final three holes in order to take the back side and split the total.  The team point with his partner, co-captain Will Guy, was closed out - which meant that Wisner was on his own with on-course decision making and shot guidance.  It was, quite simply, a mano-a-mano contest that had reached its critical stage.  Leaning on a new swing thought and words of encouragement from his coaches and teammates, Wisner dug deep and played his best golf of the afternoon - winning the third to last, then the second to last, and finally the very last - en route to an overly-dramatic back-side win and split point for the total match.  In doing so, Bennett Wisner was affirmed and enabled in what he is - a young man of considerable talent, strong character and sizable will.  It was a true and appropos highlight of his MIAA debut.

Junior Will Guy, Sophomore Danny Murphy, and Senior Stephen Sample fought admirably throughout the day - and while points were not garnered in doing so, they stood tall at day's end for putting up a best-efforts approach.  

The team, while young, is comprised of quality young men.  They reflect integrity, intention and discipline on and off the golf course - they compete with fervor and are gentlemen in doing so.  While the final score of this particular match may indeed be unfortunate - it remains quite evident that this Laker team is very, very special.  The future holds great things for these boys.  That is a near certainty.

Final Score:  Boys' Latin: 3.5  /  Mt. St. Joseph: 17.5 


Boys' Latin vs Saints Peter & Paul
March 7, 2011

In advance of the season's first official A Conference match, the Lakers traveled to Hunter's Oak Golf Club in Queenstown, Maryland for a pre-season face-off against 2010 B Conference Champions Saints Peter & Paul.  A formidable opponent, Peter & Paul boast what is arguably the greatest home course advantage in the MIAA - a links style layout with an endless sea of moguls, blind tee shots, hidden hazards and multi-tiered greens.  Overlayed with high winds, cold temperatures and wet conditions resulting from a prior night's rainstorm, the Lakers had the odds stacked against them heading into the contest.  What's more, the Lakers had gone eight years without a win or tie against Peter & Paul.

But, having completed a multi-week pre-season discipline of swing development, course management, strategy and rules education, Boys' Latin stood ready to face the challenge.  And do so they did, in classic fashion.

After a quick start the Lakers took an early lead over Peter & Paul.  However, Boys' Latin would struggle in the match's mid-way point - and in fact trail heading into the final three holes.  Undaunted, the Lakers staged an eleventh hour rally and took five of the final six points from their opponents - and in doing so, halved the total match.

Playing in his first match as a member of the Varsity Squad, Freshman Bennett Wisner combined excellence in ball striking with a dependable putting stroke in collecting two and a half points from his opponent.  Wisner partnered with Junior Will Guy in halving the team point for the match.

Junior Ben Feild, a newcomer to the squad in 2011, competing in his first outing collected two of three points from his opponent.  Feild remained level-headed and disciplined throughout the afternoon - and partnered with teammate Danny Murphy seamlessly.  Feild delivered excellence in total driving and executed effectively under pressure throughout the day.

Freshman Dylan Watts, yet another new addition to the squad, played brilliantly throughout the day - overlaying a smooth and balanced swing with a steady short game and a never-say-die attitude across the linksland of Hunter's Oak.  Watts battled his opponent with ferocity and, like his classmate Wisner, collected two and a half points on the day.

Watts partner for the day was Senior Stephen Sample - who scrambled his way to collecting two points via strong up-and-down attempts and short game prowess.  Sample and Watts combined to win the team point as well.

What's more, Junior Henry Knott and Freshman Connor Mules each won their respective matches in the seven and eight man slots.  Both were playing in their first-ever competitions as Laker golfers.  Both played remarkably well.  And each won three points accordingly.  In fact, Mules won every hole - that's right...every hole. 

Having faced a Championship Squad like Peter & Paul, at their home course, in the wind and the cold, and the slop - and having walked away with a come-from behind charge, the Lakers are off to a fast and encouraging start to the season.

Final Score:  Boys' Latin 10.5  /  Saints Peter & Paul 10.5

(Final Score Including Matches 7 & 8:  Boys' Latin 17.5  /  Saints Peter & Paul 10.5)
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