The difference between this year's Potomac Falls golf team and the Potomac Falls golf teams of the past two years was apparent when the Panthers faced Loudoun County Sept. 20. It wasn't so much what happened on the golf course--Potomac Falls lost, 160-166--but what happened after the match.

"It used to be that when we came in with scores of 44 or 45, we were happy," said junior Tim Farwell, who has been on the golf team since the school opened in 1997. "Now we get upset. When we lost to Loudoun County, we were upset about it because we felt like we choked on the last few holes."

The Panthers have improved steadily each year, and this season they have been one of the Northwestern District's top teams. Potomac Falls, which won only one dual match in two years in the Group AAA Concorde District, put together a five-match winning streak this season that included a 150-159 victory over Loudoun Valley, traditionally one of the district's top teams.

"We were really hoping to do well this year," Potomac Falls Coach Jeff Hawes said. "But I don't think we expected to do as well as we've been doing. The Northwestern District is a good district for golf; I think that it's better than the Concorde District."

Potomac Falls is averaging 160 for a nine-hole match; two years ago, the team was averaging 200 or higher. The Panthers have nine or 10 players who play golf during the offseason; two years ago, only one player played during the offseason. Farwell and Will Mook are members at the Loudoun Golf and Country Club in Purcellville, while Dave Guinter and Ryan Patrick play out of Hidden Creek Golf Club in Reston.

"That first year of tryouts, I don't know if anyone even tried to break 90 [for 18 holes]," Farwell said. "This year, everybody was trying to break 80. We push each other. [Sophomore] Dave Guinter and I have a little competition to see who does better; right now he's up by three strokes. He lets me know it, so I've got to come back and represent for the juniors."

Liberty's Family Connection

Liberty's most consistent player this season has been freshman A.J. Krick, but that hasn't surprised Coach Paul Frye. Krick is Frye's nephew, and the two have played together for the past three years.

"A.J. beats me all the time, especially lately," Frye said. "It was a big day when he beat me for the first time, but now he's carrying a six handicap, and I can't touch him."

Krick, who is averaging 38 for nine holes, picked up golf three years ago and soon quit the other sports he was playing (basketball and baseball) to focus on golf. His father, Frank Krick, joined Fauquier Springs Country Club--Liberty's home course.

"A.J. doesn't get into trouble, except on the longer courses," Frye said. "His length is not there yet, but he is consistent. His length will improve once he matures, and once he gets in the weight room."

Krick shot a 38 in Liberty's 161-173 win over Broad Run on Monday. The Eagles recorded their best nine-hole score of the year in that match. Gerald Lyons, Drew Burguin and Tevin Venia each shot 41.

The Spartans were led by sophomore J.C. Clark (38), Matt Kelly (44), Matt Ryan (46) and Matt Pestore (45).

Odds and Ends

Also Monday, Loudoun Valley edged Loudoun County, 151-154. "It was probably our turn to win," Loudoun Valley Coach Gary McKay said. "We seem to trade off. They beat us by two at the Jefferson County Invitational last week, so it was our turn this week." Loudoun County senior Billy Hurley had the match's low score with a 1-under 34. Junior Matt Bintzler led Loudoun Valley with a 36. . . . Fauquier lost to Sherando, 156-171, Monday. Senior Mike Swan shot a 42 to lead the Falcons. . . . Notre Dame (159) beat Massanutten Military (162) but lost to Quantico (129) in a Delaney Athletic Conference tri-match Monday. Junior Nathaniel Heigl shot a 51 for the Dragons.