LITHIA — Golf is a mental game, a sport predicated on hair-trigger nerves and oodles of gumption. Add the pressure of a state tournament to the mix and many a talented golfer has been known to slink into the middle of the pack.
Newsome coach Jim Govreau, however, doesn't think that will be a problem for his team when they enter Tuesday's Class 2A boys state tournament in Tavares.
"I think what happens is you see guys shoot higher than they normally would because the nerves involved with the tournament often take over," Govreau said. "I don't see that happening with this team."
That's because the Wolves are a seasoned group. This season marks the third year in a row Newsome has reached the state tournament after qualifying with a second-place finish at last week's 2A-4 regional.
"They don't have to do anything spectacular," Govreau said. "If they just go out and shoot their averages, they'll be fine."
Brian Allen and Colin Julian will be making their third appearance at states and teammates Tyler Bakich and John Michael Coultas their second.
"Having been there before," Govreau said. "Is big."
The Wolves finished 10 strokes behind St. Petersburg at the regionals. Newsome beat St. Pete by 18 strokes in a September tournament the Wolves won.
"I don't think they necessarily shot the lights and I don't think we were all that bad," Govreau said. "It was two good teams and it shows you on any given day anything can happen."
Newsome's players went over to Deer Island Golf and Lake Club in Tavares on Saturday to get accustomed to the state tournament course. Govreau said the Wolves got a chance to work on various shots in multiple situations in the fairway then read the variety of slopes on the greens.
There will be a practice round Monday prior to the two-day tourney beginning Tuesday.
"They were able to anticipate where they thought the holes would be for the tournament, so it was good for them to get a feel," Govreau said. "These guys are ready."
Prep volleyball teams enter regional play
Sixteen Hillsborough County teams survived district tournament play to advance into this week's playoffs (see box).
Plant, Steinbrenner, Riverview, Sickles, Robinson, Berkeley Prep, Tampa Prep and Cambridge won their respective district tournaments and host games on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Wharton, Freedom, Plant City, Strawberry Crest, Lennard, Tampa Catholic, Seffner Christian and Bayshore Christian finished as district runners-up and go on the road for playoff matches.
The winners will play in regional semifinals on Nov. 6.
Tampa tennis team fares well at nationals
A team based out of Hillsborough Community College recently placed third at the United States Tennis Association national championships in Tuscon, Ariz.
"Everybody wants to go out there and win it," team captain Rick Beardsley said. "But the fact of the matter is everyone out there is a champion already and you have the best players in the country all wanting the same thing."
Team HCC, with ages ranging from their late 20s to 50s, competed in the 4.0 flight. The flights, based on age and ability, range from beginner (1.5) to the most advanced (7.0). The HCC team won all three pool matches against California, Texas and Indiana, advancing to the semifinals before losing to Utah.
"Traditionally the strongest teams come from Texas, California and Florida," Beardsley said. "Out of all the teams, I never expected Utah to be there. But they were very deserving."
Team HCC then won the consolation match against Hawaii to finish third. The squad also had a chance to get in some sightseeing, taking a day trip up to Mt. Lemmon.
"I got a chance to take some pictures up there and it was just a beautiful place," Beardsley said. "We didn't win it, but you take what you can get and I think we did pretty good."
Traditional Taekwondo does it again
A group from the Tampa-based Traditional Taekwondo Center recently won the Championship Cup at the United States Open Exhibition Championships at the Isagenix Cup in Richmond, Va. It's the second straight year the award-winning demonstration team has captured the title.
"I am extremely proud of this group of young people," Grand Master and Dojang owner Gerhard Brunner said. "Once again they rose to the challenge and demonstrated the true power of tae kwon do, focusing your mind to achieve success."
Brandon Wright can be reached at email@example.com.