Golf season tees off: King’s Fork

Published 6:13 pm Saturday, August 17, 2013

King’s Fork High School senior Griffen Saylor drives on Thursday during a match against NRHS.

King’s Fork High School senior Griffen Saylor drives on Thursday during a match against NRHS.

Thursday’s 343-444 loss in golf to Nansemond River High School dropped King’s Fork High School to 0-2 on the season, but Bulldogs head coach Calvin Mitchell had reason to be optimistic about the match and this year.

“My team is mainly beginners; their performance was good,” he said. “The girls in particular, they lowered their score by about five strokes each from their match against Western Branch.”

He was referring to seniors Rebecca Bangley and Destanie Fonoinoana, his No. 4 and No. 5 players, respectively. Bangley moved up from No. 6 last year, and this year marks Fonoinoana’s first time playing golf.

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“My top players, they’re just going to have to step up their game a little bit,” he said.

His No. 1, senior Griffen Saylor, struggled on Thursday, shooting a 92. He will shoulder more of the load this season, since last year’s No. 1 and individual regional qualifier, Chris Angelelli, has moved to Virginia Beach.

Mitchell will also look to No. 2 junior William Crow and No. 3 senior Jacob Nguyen to bring in low scores. Crow could not participate on Thursday due to missions responsibilities with his church.

King’s Fork went 2-7 last year, finishing seventh in the district. As the team advanced no further than the district tournament, Mitchell said, “The team goal is to make regionals this year.”

One thing that could help in this regard is a larger pool of players to work with. Last year, Mitchell had six players, and this time he will have 10, including three freshmen who will soon join the team.

“All three of them have some introductory experience, and I haven’t seen them play so I can’t rate them as to where they are just yet,” he said.

Nevertheless, Mitchell is excited about the additions, “particularly since most of the team will be leaving as seniors. But I’m always excited to get new players, no matter what their skill level is.”

Mitchell takes a positive perspective on the realignment that will put the Suffolk schools in a six-team conference and change the make-up of postseason play.

“I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “It pairs schools up who have similar (population sizes) which means you’re going to get athletes in the schools with similar talents, so it kind of evens the playing field. So, I’m excited to see how things go this year against the peninsula schools.”

The schools he referred to are conference mates Denbigh High School, Heritage High School and Phoebus High School.

King’s Fork will host Deep Creek High School on Tuesday at Sleepy Hole Golf Course.