Gilman leads the pack as every team prepares for the post-season

Special to VSN

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the MIAA’s A Conference varsity golf campaign is still very much up for grabs, with Gilman currently leading the way at 6-1.

The Greyhounds’ only loss of the season to date came at the hands of St. Paul’s on April 19, as the Crusaders posted a 15.5-5.5 win at Baltimore Country Club. Gilman has yet to lose at their home course this season with a 4-0 mark at Elkridge Country Club.

St. Paul’s (6-2) and Archbishop Spalding (4-3) are 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the seven-team conference, with the Crusaders posting a pair of wins over the Cavaliers, including a narrow 11-10 decision at St. Paul’s home course, BCC.

Spalding’s four wins include road triumphs at Country Club of Maryland (Calvert Hall) and Hunt Valley Golf Club (Loyola).

Mount Saint Joseph (4-4) handed both St. Paul’s and Spalding defeats at Rolling Road Golf Club earlier this season and are always a tough opponent at their home course on Wilkens Avenue.

Calvert Hall and Loyola Blakefield are both 3-5 on the season, each beating the other at home. The Cardinals are the only team to beat Mount Saint Joseph at Rolling Road thus far in 2021 while Loyola boasts a sweep of McDonogh in their two encounters with the Eagles. McDonogh (0-6) is a talented squad that has lost several narrow matches thus far.

With the spring sports policy that all teams make the post-season due to Covid-related scheduling implications, some coaches have altered their philosophy in terms of lineups and playing time.

“We’re very young as it is,” says Calvert Hall coach Drew Forrester, whose Cardinals have four freshmen and one sophomore on their 2021 roster, “So the decision to allow all of the teams to make the post-season has benefited us in that we’ve decided to play all 12 of our players throughout the season. I think the experience our younger players are getting will be valuable for them in the future, whether that’s this year or next.”

Balance has definitely found its way to the A Conference in 2021.

“From what I’ve seen, any team can beat any other team in the conference on any given day,” states St. Paul’s head coach Paul Bernstorf. “I can’t remember a season with so many 11-10 and 12-9 scores. Almost every match comes down to one or two putts on the last hole. The parity in the league this season is really amazing.”

Both coaches agree the level of the play in the league has been very impressive.

“I think the quality of play has been really good,” Forrester contends. “The fact that there was no league last spring due to the virus and we’re seeing this kind of high level golf is really a testament to how hard the players from all the teams worked on their games over the last year.”

“This is one of the best years I can remember for the players in the 1-2 pairing,” says Bernstorf. “Every team’s number one and number two players have been outstanding all season long. The golf from every team has been good, no matter what the records show.”

The regular season runs through May 10, with playoffs slated to run May 11 and May 13 with the championship final set for Saturday, May 15 at a soon-to-be-announced location.

The MIAA Individual Championship — competed over 36 holes of stroke play on two separate days at Eagle’s Nest — will feature players from the A, B and C conference on May 17 and 19.