Revere boys golf team turning potential into expectation
By Mike D’Agruma
RICHFIELD — Jed McKnight woke up Aug. 20, looked out the window, saw the weather and felt a large pit develop in his stomach.
At 11 a.m., his Revere High School boys golf team was supposed to compete in the InfoCision Fairlawn Invitational — a tournament he organizes. A torrential downpour and the accompanying thunder told McKnight that Mother Nature had other ideas for how the team should spend its day.
He said the weather didn’t stop Fairlawn Country Club course employees from working fairways and greens to try and make the event happen. What the weather did stop, however, was a chance for Revere to compete against 15 of the best high school golf teams in the state — a chance to show those teams its transformation from a team of potential to one of expectation.
McKnight said his golfers were disappointed not to be playing that day because they had been playing so well. After shooting a 317 and recording a sixth-place finish at the Medina Invitational Aug. 13, the team one-upped itself two days later at the Suburban League Preseason Tournament with a first-place finish and team score of 299. Junior Cory Hill and sophomore Patrick Alfieri paced the squad by shooting matching 73s. Junior Tom Kimberly and freshman Josh Heckman shot a 75 and 78, respectively. Juniors Mack Kerker and Bo Youssefi each shot an 82.
Notice how in that list of players, of those six starters, there is not one senior. In fact, McKnight said he only has one on the entire roster. Not that he’s worried about that apparent lack of experience, though. It’s actually quite the opposite. If you count this season, his six starting golfers have a combined 14 years of varsity experience among them. Three of his juniors — Hill, Kerker and Youssefi — have nine.
“They’re like seniors,” said McKnight of those three juniors. “They play like seniors. They lead like seniors. “We have an experienced but young team,” he added. “We have a talented enough team where any player can shoot low scores.”
McKnight said he’s hopeful that experience and talent will help his team develop the final trait it needs to be a true state contender — consistency. Though it finished as co-Suburban League champions and had two players receive postseason awards (Hill and Kerker), McKnight said his players went through some tough stretches last year trying to string four solid performances together, struggling at times to have the majority shoot sub-80 scores.
But after missing a spot in the Division II State Tournament by three stokes last year, the Minutemen are entering this season older, more mature and apparently more consistent.
The Aug. 22 Dublin Tournament seems to be another good example. Revere faces off against 19 of the top programs in the state, Revere shoots a 300 and finishes fifth. Four golfers compete, none shoot higher than a 77. Two golfers record low scores of 73 — Heckman and Hill.
McKnight said Hill, his No. 1 golfer and two-time First Team All-Conference selection, has become “consistency guy,” the player whose final round score you can pretty much book before his first swing, the leader by example, the one who’s stepping into the role departed senior and four-time All-Conference selection James Paige left behind.
Kimberly and Youssefi, McKnight said, are his vocal leaders, guys who know how to bring the next group of young players into the fold and make them feel welcome, guys who have no problem giving younger players rides home in addition to advice and encouragement.
McKnight said all of his golfers — starter or substitute — have made big contributions to the developing success of the program. But though his junior golfers are serving as its current foundation, he said his Minutemen aren’t a one-class wonder. Last year, the junior varsity squad finished its season with an 11-2 mark and was undefeated in league play. The Revere Middle School’s eighth-grade team — a McKnight-created squad that Hill, Kerker and Youssefi were involved with at its very onset — went 5-1. So for McKnight, the future seems as bright as the present is — a present that sees the team older, more mature and apparently more consistent. A present McKnight said is full of expectation and not just potential.
The team next will compete against
Highland High School Sept. 4 at 3:30 p.m. at Chippewa
The Revere High School boys golf
team stands posed with an InfoCision Fairlawn Invitational
sign, a tournament head coach Jed McKnight organizes.
Photo courtesy of Cindy