Alex Hoffman 2009

Middletown’s Alex Hoffman won his second individual state championship in 2009, pacing the Knights to the Class 1A-2A state title on what was among the finest golf teams in Frederick County history. But was it the best of all-time in the area? You can help decide by voting in our poll at www.fredericknewspost.com.

What are the best high school teams in Frederick this fall?

Thanks to the coronavirus, we’ll likely have to wait until next spring to find out. The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association postponed fall and winter sports until after the first semester, which ends in January, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

So to help fill the void, The Frederick News-Post thought it would be fun to ask readers to pick the best Frederick County high school teams of all-time in each sport.

Each week, we’ll feature a sport and list contenders from years past in that sport. Readers can visit www.fredericknewspost.com to vote for the team they think is best. We’ll do this for all sports, fall, winter and spring.

Each Thursday, when we list candidates for another sport, we’ll reveal the team from the previous week’s sport that got the most votes.

This week’s sport: Golf. May the best team win.

1972-1973 Frederick Cadets

Accomplishments: 12-0 regular season record, MPSSAA state champion (all classes)

This Frederick team is distinguished in many ways. It was the first Frederick County golf team to win an MPSSAA state title, and it was powered by the most renowned golfer to come out of the county, eventual PGA Tour competitor Donnie Hammond.

The Cadets also won the program’s only state crown during a calendar year in which the MPSSAA held two state golf tournaments.

Frederick beat second-place Magruder — the defending champ — for the title on June 15, 1973. But during the 1973-74 school year, the MPSSAA switched its state golf tournament from the spring to the fall, when it is still currently held.

That change might help explain why the MPSSAA record book indicates Frederick won its crown in 1972 instead of 1973 (that’s why both years are listed above for this team). While the MPSSAA has yet to respond to an email inquiry about this issue, it’s possible the organization didn’t make an error but instead tried to avoid confusion by backdating titles won in the spring. Frederick’s title came during the 1972-73 school year, after all.

Magruder’s situation illustrates the potential for confusion. After being a runner-up to Frederick in June, it came right back and won the state crown in November 1973. So instead of listing Magruder as both a state finalist and state champ in 1973, the MPSSAA record book lists the team as a finalist in 1972 and champ in 1973.

Anyway, let’s look at Frederick’s championship team. The Cadets, coached by Ken Palmer, finished with a two-round score of 627, beating Magruder by three strokes at the University of Maryland golf course.

“I think most teams were surprised to see a team from Frederick on top yesterday,” Palmer told The Frederick News-Post back then. “And they were even more surprised that we stayed on top today.”

Hammond led the way. After being the first-round leader, he placed third overall with a score of 150. The Cadets’ top four was rounded out by Rand Weinberg, Steve Poirier and Dave Gray.

Hammond went on to play Jacksonville University before turning pro and joining the PGA Tour in 1983. He won two PGA Tour events, the 1986 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and the 1989 Texas Open.

1996 Middletown Knights

Accomplishments: 9-0 record, Frederick County tournament champion, MVAL champion, 1A-2A District I champion, Class 1A-2A state champion

After seeing a promising shot at the program’s first state title vanish the previous season, the 1996 Knights came through.

Middletown returned four starters from a team that was a state finalist in 1995. They were no doubt hungry after falling short the previous year, when they led by 10 strokes after the first round at states.

“We talked about holding the lead and not letting it get away,” then-Knights coach Rick McQuillen told the News-Post.

It helped that this time, Middletown took a whopping 26-stroke lead into the second round. The Knights beat second-place North Caroline 676-699, putting the finishing touch on their dominant season.

Derek Ausherman, who earned Frederick News-Post Player of the Year honors, led the Knights with a two-round total of 152, tying for fifth overall. Middletown’s other scorers were Jon Coyne (an FNP all-area second-teamer), Chad Bohn (another all-area first-teamer) and Dave Fleming.

1998 Walkersville Lions

Accomplishments: Class 1A-2A state champion, Frederick County Tournament champion, Class 2A-1A district co-champion, Class 2A-1A state champion

This was the first of two straight state titles for Walkersville, which became the first Frederick County golf team to win back-to-back state crowns.

While both teams were worthy of consideration on this list (as was the school’s 1994 state championship team), this was the first county team to win the crown while also having one of its golfers, Jimmy Cunningham, win an individual state title.

After taking the first-round lead by shooting a 69, Cunningham seemed poised to become the second Frederick County golfer to win an individual state title. The first was Walkersville’s Colyn Keller, who accomplished the feat in 1991.

But in the second round, Cunningham found himself engaged in a tight battle with Walt Whitman’s Charles Hong. Cunningham gutted out a one-shot victory over Hong by making a 9-foot putt to save par on the 18th hole, finishing with a two-day total of 143 and earning the individual title (which was still for all four classes).

“Putting is the best part of his game,” Lions coach Bruce Zimmerman told the News-Post back then. “And Charles was putting a lot of pressure on him.”

As for the team title, the Lions beat second-place Pikesville 648-667. Aside from Cunningham, Walkersville’s foursome included Derek Bowersox, Jason Wisner and Eli Baltic.

The next season, Cunningham and Baltic helped the Lions repeat by beating second-place Urbana — which beat them during the regular season and won the county tournament — by four strokes.

2009 Middletown Knights

Accomplishments: Class 1A-2A District 1 champion, Class 1A-2A state champion

Middletown trailed Marriott’s Ridge by six strokes heading into the second round. But with one of the county’s most successful golfers of all-time, Alex Hoffman, in the lineup, the Knights made up the difference and won 695-705 for the program’s second state crown.

Hoffman made history that day, becoming the first — and to date, only — Frederick County golfer to win two individual state titles. He shot a one-under par 72 on the final day, finishing with a total score of 146 to win the individual male title (again, that was for all classes back then). Hoffman, a senior who went on to play at Memphis, won his first individual state title as a sophomore.

Middletown’s other scorers were Jimmie Blumenauer, Garrett Nicely and Chase Main. The Knights were coached by Jason Aud, who was in his first year at the helm.

“I’m speechless,” Aud told the News-Post after his team won the crown. “There were a lot of competitive golfers out there today. It’s something that will stay with the team forever.”

2011 Urbana Hawks

Accomplishments: Undefeated regular season, Frederick County champion, 3A-4A district champion, Class 3A-4A state champion

With a core that had won two straight state crowns, the 2011 Hawks withstood the pressure and target on their backs to become the first — and to date, only — county team to win three straight state crowns.

Tied with Broadneck for the lead after the first round, Urbana completed the three-peat by beating second-place Walt Whitman 615-621.

Chris DiSciullo led the Hawks, placing fifth with a two-day total of 145. Others in Urbana’s top four were James Jaworski (ninth place), Kyler Rose and Josh Welch. All of them had helped the Hawks win a state title in the past as they formed a rare dynasty that put together a string of unbeaten regular seasons and piled up titles.

“This is an amazing feat, but there’s no magic in what we do,” Hawks coach Frank Ferrari said. “We have a task and stay on it. We go out there, try to shoot in the 70s. We’ve kept our approach the same all the time.”

Urbana would remain a state power.

2018 Urbana Hawks

Accomplishments: Class 3A-4A state champion, Frederick County champion

When Urbana had last won a state title seven years earlier, coach Frank Ferrari remarked that it was noteworthy for the team to have two golfers finish in the top 10.

Urbana team had all four of its scorers accomplish that feat at the 2011 state tournament, and the Hawks were well on their way to the fourth state crown in program history.

Urbana beat Northern Calvert 619-637 for the 4A-3A title. Jacob Ferrari, The Frederick News-Post Player of the Year in 2011, placed fourth in the state with a two-day total of 152. Not too far behind him were teammates Bach Ngo and Michael Snyder, who tied for seventh. Urbana’s Elliot Haas tied for 10th.

This team had multiple No. 1 golfers. For instance, Jacob Ferrari won the individual title at the county tournament, while Haas won the CMC individual crown.

“When we last won [the title] in 2011, those guys were special,” Frank Ferrari said. “But this team is steady. I always know if you’re steady — you don’t need 65s, you need four 78s, and that typically wins. We’ve always had the 74, 75, 76.”

2019 Oakdale Bears

Accomplishments: Class 1A-2A District I champion, 1A-2A state champion

The Bears belong on this list for their sheer persistence at the state tournament.

After rallying from a 14-shot deficit to tie county rival Linganore 659-659 at the end of regulation, Oakdale then had to endure a four-hole playoff. All in a long day’s work, as the Bears claimed the first state title in program history.

It was getting dark as the battle dragged on.

“This team has worked very hard and kept getting better,” Bears coach Marcus Mason said. “To be able to come back from 14 shots down says a lot about this team.”

Chris Lee and Elizabeth Tucci helped the Bears finally prevail. Lee parred the fourth playoff hole, and Tucci followed with a bogey, which protected a one-shot lead.

Tucci was the individual girls runner-up in 2A-1A with a 165. Lee was Oakdale’s top male performer, shooting a two-round 156. Michael Holman, who made a putt for par before Tucci’s final putt, and Dell Greiser rounded out Oakdale’s scorers.

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