Golf: St. Mary’s Ryken a threat to win private schools title

April 23, 2012

There is a newcomer among private school golf elite. With two weeks remaining in the regular season, St. Mary’s Ryken is enjoying the best season in school history and on pace to qualify for its first Washington Private Schools Championship.

Senior Olivia Bowling, the Knights’ No. 1 player, has won all but one of her matches and sophomores Joe Schwartz and Jamie Munchak have also played well as Ryken is off to a 5-0-1 start, 5-0 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.

“We’ve got two stressful weeks, then the WCAC championship [on May 8 and 10],” Knights Coach Jason Early said. “We’re rolling. We’re in full swing, literally.”

Ryken plays Holy Cross on Monday at Columbia Country Club, then has a big match Tuesday against undefeated Landon at Avenel. (Landon plays Georgetown Prep in a key Interstate Athletic Conference match Monday at Bethesda Country Club.) The Knights play undefeated Gonzaga on May 3 at Army Navy Country Club in a match that should decide first place in the WCAC regular season.

The private schools tourney, matching the top two teams from the WCAC and IAC, is scheduled for May 15 at Cattail Creek.

It is quite a run for a team that last season finished fourth in the WCAC for its best result ever in that tournament. That was with standout Mason Short on the roster, who now plays for Maryland.

“A lot of teams come down the road and play us here and know we lost Mason Short and don’t know what else we have, because everyone knows Mason, which is good,” Early said. “But we have more than just Mason.”

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