YORK, PA -- A brand new day is dawning on Centennial Conference golf É but the old guard is returning to remind us what was once old can be new again.
For the past 11 years, the Conference men's and women's golf championships have been determined at the Eagle's Landing Golf club in Berlin, Md. This weekend, the Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York, Pa., - the site of the annual Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association championships - will be the site of the competition. The men's competition is a 54-hole event with 18 holes on each of the three days - Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The women's championship is contested over 36 holes on Saturday and Sunday.
The men's tournament is wide-open after a balanced fall and spring season. Gettysburg posted the lowest team average during the regular season at 318.19 - just a little less than one shot better than McDaniel (319.06). Franklin & Marshall registered a 323.69 average, while Swarthmore had its best season in recent memory at 325.29. However, you cannot count out Dickinson (333.77), Ursinus (337.36) or defending champion Muhlenberg (342.80), since Conference teams seldom have had their full contingents available for spring competition due to academic conflicts.
Franklin & Marshall sophomore Carson Crooms (St. Petersburg, FL/Canterbury) is the defending champion after registering a one-stroke victory over teammate Kevin Philipow (Sudbury, Ontario/Heritage), Gettysburg's Devin Russell and Muhlenberg's Brian Farrelly last season. Crooms was sixth in the Conference in stroke average this season at 79.50. Ursinus freshman Bo Maguire led the Centennial with a 76.00 average with five top-10 finishes. Russell, a senior, was second at 76.64 and carded wins at the Gettysburg and Elizabethtown tournaments this spring. Also keep an eye on McDaniel senior Brendan Zadrozny, Ursinus junior Jack Dillon, and Franklin & Marshall junior Mark Quick (Forest Hill, MD/Saint Paul's), who also posted averages under 80 at 78.70 and 79.00, respectively.
On the women's side, the race could be for second place. McDaniel has won the last three Conference championships and enters the weekend with a Centennial-best 358.00 average - nearly 50 strokes better than runner-up Gettysburg (406.89). The Green Terror is ranked 19th in the most recent National Golf Coaches Association Division III rankings. Senior Kelly Cramp, a first-team All-America selection last season, has taken medalist honors at the last three CC championships and leads the Conference with a 79.31 average. She has won five tournaments this season, including two triumphs at Kutztown Invitationals and another at Mount Holyoke. Cramp has 14 individual titles to her credit in her collegiate career.
Lest you think that McDaniel is a one-woman team, classmate Garnett Pumphrey is second in the CC in stroke average at 84.93. She has four top-10 finishes in tournaments with six or more teams this season. Other challengers for the individual title include Ursinus sophomore Katey Gumz, Gettysburg freshman Merrill Fortier and Franklin & Marshall senior Jessi Kunkle (Centre Hall, PA/State College). The trio is 3-4-5 in stroke average at 87.25, 88.73 and 89.86, respectively.