Men’s golf team flourishes under leadership of new head coach

Andreas Combos, Sports Editor

Led by first-year head coach, Dave Snyder, the Athens Drive men’s golf team finished third place in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference (SWAC) this spring 2015 season, sending its starting five players to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Regionals competition.

“I’m so glad we made it to the postseason,” said Senior Cameron Evangelista, captain. “We’ve made it every year I’ve played on the team. It just shows how good our guys really are.”

The starting lineup traveled to regionals, including Evangelista, juniors Logan Pearce and Devin Thorpe, and freshmen Quinn Riley and Carter Cheek. Riley, the team’s No. 1 player, does not go to school at Athens. He attends the Wake STEM Early College High School at NC State University, but was given permission to play for the Jaguars since his school lacks a golf team.

Throughout the season, the Jags have practiced full-time at Lochmere Golf Club in Cary. The team has played matches at Prestonwood Country Club, Bentwinds and Lonnie Pool, among other golf courses, under the guidance of Snyder. Many of the players attribute their success to Snyder.

“Coach Snyder is the best coach I’ve had. He has helped me get to the best I’ve ever been with my game. He is as much as a friend as he is a coach,” said Evangelista.

A golf pro at Lochmere, Snyder was hired last year to be the head coach for Athens, taking both the women’s and men’s team under his wing. Snyder plans to continue coaching each of the golf teams in future seasons.

“My number one rule is to have fun,” said Snyder. “If you are not having fun then you cannot relax and make the shots needed. If you do make a bad shot, then the goal is to flush it, forget about it and look at what is in front of you.”

Golf is played on an open course typically of 18 holes. Unlike most sports, the object of golf is to complete a course with the least amount of strokes possible, using a variety of clubs.

During the summer, most of the golf team plans to continue practicing in order to improve their skills. Snyder believes that the Jags can take it one step further next year by making it to the state championships if they continue to work hard.

“I’m glad that my senior year was with these guys. Playing golf has taught patience, discipline and self control. It’s [been] a great way to meet new people,” said Evangelista.