St. Petersburg and Clearwater Central Catholic have spent all season getting ready for this day. Both teams have known since the first tee shot of the season that a trip to the state tournament wasn’t just a goal, it was an expectation.
Today and Wednesday, St. Petersburg gets its chance to better last year’s tie for seventh when it plays in the Class 2A state tournament at the Deer Island Golf and Lake Club in Tavares. CCC, which did not advance as a team last season, plays in the Class A tournament at the Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills.
“We’ve been consistent,’’ CCC coach Tony Pasquine said. “We shot 289 at our invitational and we’ve broken 300 three times this year. We’re feeling pretty confident about how we’re playing.’’
Both teams are strikingly similar.
The Green Devils and Marauders are anchored by seniors who will be playing at major colleges next year. St. Petersburg’s Jack Maguire will play at Florida State and can shoot in the 60s on any given day. So can CCC’s Ryan Orr, who will play at Florida.
Both teams have above-average No. 2 players. St. Petersburg’s Jake Kevorkian and CCC’s Andrew Heric are consistently in the low 70s. And both teams have depth at the other three positions.
Connor McMahon, Martin Fennemore and Clayton Spilman can shoot 80 or better for the Marauders. Same goes for Blake Dyer, Zack Monawar and Donald Weiss of St. Petersburg. In fact, Monawar is the only Green Devil not to play in the state tournament last season.
Lastly, both teams are taking momentum into state. CCC shot 311 at regionals, four ahead of Tampa Catholic. It shot 312 to win the district tourney by seven over St. Petersburg Catholic.
The Green Devils won their region tournament by 10 shots over another state contender, Newsome. They shot 290 to win district by 25 shots over Northeast.
“If we can play like this again we’ve got a chance,’’ Maguire said after last week’s regionals at Cypress Run. “We’re all playing pretty well right now.’’
Maguire shot a pair of 77s at last year’s state tournament. Orr tied for 71st with scores of 86-75.
Orr is not only happy to return as an individual, he’s glad his team gets to go with him.
“It’s huge that our whole team’s going because I can rely on other people,’’ Orr said after last week’s regional at the Eagles. “Having everyone else there makes it so much better.’’
Rodney Page can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.