Golf season tees off: Nansemond River

Published 6:14 pm Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Nansemond River and King’s Fork High School golf teams faced off on Thursday for a regular-season match at Nansemond River Golf Club.

It was neither team’s first match of the season, and both are still taking shape, but the Warriors were the definitive winners, defeating the Bulldogs 343-444. Both teams were missing players, and the Warriors had three of their top six out for different reasons, but they secured the win to put the team at 2-1 for the season.

Nansemond River High School senior Griffin Genier putts during his round of 74 on Thursday that helped his team defeat King’s Fork High School 343-444 at Nansemond River Golf Club. Genier is the No. 1 player for the Warriors this year.

Nansemond River High School senior Griffin Genier putts during his round of 74 on Thursday that helped his team defeat King’s Fork High School 343-444 at Nansemond River Golf Club. Genier is the No. 1 player for the Warriors this year.

“I think you’ll see what our team truly is like starting next week,” NR head coach Craig Stephenson said during the match.

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However, he continued to see what he expected this year from his No. 1 player, senior Griffin Genier, who was first-team All District last season. Genier was Thursday’s medalist with a round of 74 on the par-72 course.

NR head coach Craig Stephenson has high expectations for his team this season, with five returning players and a realignment that could strongly favor the school.

Rather than competing in the postseason against Southeastern District opponents, Suffolk’s public schools are now in a conference with the following schools of like size: Denbigh High School, Heritage High School and Phoebus High School.

After the regular season, a conference tournament will be held to determine who makes it to the regional level.

Last year, against much larger schools in the Southeastern District, the Warriors finished second in the regular season with a record of 8-1. They also finished second in the district tournament to Grassfield High School and made it to the regional level.

Stephenson did not seem entirely pleased by the changes because the new conference foes are not known as golf schools. Additionally, he said the regular season schedule is still filled with district matches that now have no connection to the postseason.

With these changes, however, he does expect success. “In my mind, we should definitely qualify for a regional berth,” he said. He also expects a state berth, as well.

His No. 2 player, senior Bryce Strong, struggled on Thursday with an 82, but Stephenson has otherwise been pleased with the performances of his top two players thus far, including Genier.

“They both were in my top three as freshmen,” Stephenson said.

Strong was second-team All District last year and a state qualifier the year before.

The pressure is currently on the other members of the team.

“Some of them need to step up to help,” Stephenson said.

Though No. 3 Ryan Fischer, a sophomore, and No. 4 Ryan Sams, a senior, could not participate on Thursday, Stephenson will look to them in the future for support. The team is also expected to benefit from the presence of senior Caleb Knaack, a transfer student from Washington, who is a three-year letterman in golf.

Nansemond River will host Great Bridge High School on Tuesday at Sleepy Hole Golf Course.