NR golf expects smooth transition
Published 9:51 pm Friday, August 14, 2015
The Nansemond River High School golf program has established a reputation of being strong in its city, its conference and the Southeastern District.
This year, the Warriors will be adjusting to a new classification, a new conference and a new coach.
Brandon Frye was tapped to take over leadership of the program, and he said he was pretty pleased overall with Nansemond River’s performance during the first week of the 2015 season.
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The Warriors began with a victory over King’s Fork High School on Aug. 10 at Sleepy Hole Golf Course. They generated a team score of 338, while the Bulldogs did not have enough players with eligible scores to produce a team score.
On Aug. 13, Nansemond River fell 304-343 to Great Bridge High School at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course in Portsmouth.
Frye expected his team’s superior score would come on its home course, Sleepy Hole, but said, “By the season’s end, I think we can do a little bit better than 338.”
For a team that has won its conference tournament the past two years and has lost only one player from last year — graduate Leo Outland — Frye has suitably high expectations.
“I really haven’t seen any of the scores for the (teams in the) conference that we’re in, but I’m pretty sure we can compete for the conference title,” he said.
Nansemond River has moved up to the 5A classification, given its student body size, and it now competes in Conference 10, rather than the Ironclad Conference.
Frye will aid the golf program’s transition with his wealth of experience on the links.
“I’ve always worked at a golf course, and I’ve been a golfer forever,” he said. “It’s always been something I’ve been interested in.”
When he was 16, he started working at Portsmouth’s City Park, which includes ‘The Links’ golf course. He still works there now, one day a week, on top of his job as a special education teacher at Nansemond River.
An avid participant in golf camps, he became an instructor in the summer camps at City Park when he was 16, and when he was older, he gained experience coaching at the high school level.
Frye, 29, coached for two years at Lakeland High School and is now beginning his third year of coaching high school golf.
Leading this year’s team for the Warriors is senior No. 1 player Ryan Fischer, who made it to the state tournament last year, along with Outland.
Fischer was NR’s top scorer this week, shooting a five-over-par 77 on Aug. 10 and a six-over 78 on Aug. 13.
Also providing leadership is senior No. 2 player Andrew Halmrast.
“He just started playing last year, but he’s gotten much better this year,” Frye said. “He’s a natural athlete, and he picked it up quick.”
Halmrast produced his best match score on Aug. 10, shooting a 77 along with Fisher. Halmrast shot an 83 on Aug. 13.
Frye identified sophomores Jack Wolfe and Matt Culbert as up-and-comers, noting Wolfe is taking frequent lessons at Cedar Point Country Club.
“He’s really worked on his game,” Frye said. “His swing has really come around, even the past few months.”
The coach said Culbert is a multi-sport athlete, and if he can fit a decent amount of course time into his schedule, “I think he can get better, as well.”
The team features 11 players this year, with three seniors and four beginners in the sport.
Nansemond River faces Western Branch High School on Aug. 17 at the Nansemond River Golf Club.