Heat strokes

Published 10:13 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In sports, “attrition” usually applies to a football team that suffers numerous injuries on the same Friday night. It could even apply to a basketball team that has three or four players foul out in the same game or a baseball squad that runs short of pitchers or has to go extra innings.

For the past couple of days at Nansemond River Golf Club, all the golf teams in the Southeastern District had a right to talk about attrition, as well.

Specifically on Tuesday, Nansemond River and Deep Creek opened their seasons, and the Warriors and Hornets had to grind through the heat and humidity.

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Nansemond River, with good rounds from Travis Johnson, Shanice Mason and Nicole Hemmis, prevailed over DC 349-384.

Both teams had one player drop out during the back nine as the heat became too much. Even for the golfers who made it to the finish line in rounds which dragged on for about five hours, the heat index took its toll on the scorecards.

Johnson was the match’s medalist with a seven-over par 79. Johnson started with an even-par 36 on the front nine before shooting 43 on the back nine. Mason shot 37 on the front and 45 on the back. Hemmis started in 39 and shot 44 on the second nine.

For the most part, Nansemond River head coach Craig Stephenson was happy with the start to the season, and knows what his top golfers are talented enough to do because of the front nine scores. Remaining consistent and mentally tough through a long round is the challenge.

“I was relaxed through the front nine,” said Johnson. Johnson was still cruising along through 12 holes. On the 13th hole, he sliced back-to-back tee shots into the Nansemond River, which borders the whole right side of the par five.

“Last year, I played well on the front every time, but the back would tear me up every single time,” said Johnson.

Johnson felt he was used to the heat, but it still is something to cope with.

“I was in the Carolinas the past few days for a baseball showcase and it was 100-plus degrees,” said Johnson, who’s also a member of Nansemond River’s baseball team and played much of the summer with Nansemond Post 88’s state championship junior American Legion team.

When comparing the two sports though, Johnson said, “this (today) was tougher. You’re walking the whole time and you never get a chance to sit down.”

“Team-wise, yeah, I feel we did okay. I feel I can do a whole lot better than I did today,” said Johnson.

With slightly cooler temperatures expected Wednesday, Nansemond River turns around in less than 24 hours and takes on Hickory at Sleepy Hole Golf Course starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday.