All AAA high schools will switch from spring to autumn golf, starting this fall.
Each Northern Region school will play eight matches, followed by district championships (Oct. 3), region championships (Oct. 10) and the state tournament Oct. 24 and 25.
The annual Quantico Invitational, which in the past has been played in the spring, has also been switched and will be Sept. 26-27 at Medal of Honor golf course in Quantico.
"All schools in the state had been playing spring golf," said George Carter, Athletic Director at Chantilly and the Northern Region golf director. "They went to the fall program feeling that the kids have been playing golf all summer long and figured they would be at the peak of their golf games during the fall. We felt the district and regional representatives would be better qualified and we would have better players.
"Another reason, a very important reason, was we had to start the golf season so early in the spring and it was so cold. We felt the the fall would give us a better break in the weather."
"I think you are going to see lower scores," said Pete DeHaven, coach at Chantilly, whose team won the Potomac District championship last year.
Bob Riley, who coordinates the golf schedules and secures courses for the golfers to play, said he encountered opposing viewpoints.
"They (school officials) feel that the weather is better in the fall and there is not much conflict sportswise; very few golfers play football. Some kids feel that they played all the tournaments in the summer and they are at the peak of their game, and will play better in the fall," Riley said. "But others said that they like spring golf, because it gives them a chance to warm up for the summer tournaments. Come the end of August, ther're all golfed out."
Langley is expected to be very strong again this season, with Peter Nadanyi, Doug Brown, Peter Costolanski and Park Ashley returning from a team that finished second to Salem in last year's state tournament.
"The outlook is very good, said Langley Coach Sonny Chisholm. "I would like to win the region and get back to the state tournament, but it's not going to be easy. Oakton, West Springfield, Chantilly, Robinson, Madison, Herndon and Fort Hunt are all going to be very good," Chisholm said.
Langley golfers usually practice at River Bend Country Club, where Brown and Ashley are members. Nadanyi plays out of International and Costolanski out of Westwood.
Chisholm also plays golf, carrying a double-digit handicap, and said: "These kids beat me bad. They have to give me strokes."
Langley produced one of the area's top golfers in Wayne Defrancesco, who was selected junior of the year in 1975 and is now a professional.
In a high school match, six players play a particular day and the best four scores are counted.
Northern District champion Oakton, the only other Northern Virginia team to gain the state tournament, should also be formidable. "I hope so," said Coach Frank Autry. "Our top three golfers are are returning: Blake Cleary, Fritz Reber and Ron Johnson. I pretty much count on them shooting in the 70s."
Chantilly has a strong team in Kevin Collins, Gary Winesett, David Delvecchio and Scott Anderson.
Although some high schoolers are better golfers than their coaches, Chantilly Coach DeHaven said he contributes. "If they have problems with their swing, they try to see their pro. I try to deal with the mental aspect, and try to organize the team. I try to set up practice time (usually at Chantilly Country Club) so they can try to work on their weak areas, rather than just tell them to go out and play. Golf matches are fun, and practice is fun. It's not like football, where practice gets boring," said DeHaven.