After finishing second at the Maryland state golf championships the past two seasons -- including a two-stroke defeat in 2000 -- Churchill High finally broke through last week with an 11-stroke victory at Clustered Spires Golf Club in Frederick.
Despite the advantage in strokes in the team championship, it was not a win that came easily.
Juniors Frank Alafoginis, Federico Lopez, and Adam Krainson, along with sophomore Matt Benz, had to overcome rainy conditions and tortuous delays (some rounds lasted as long as seven hours) that resulted from the entire 172-player field using a shotgun start. Alafoginis shot a 1-under-par 71, Benz had a 76, and Krainson and Lopez each fired 80s to lead the Bulldogs over second-place Liberty.
"It was a relief," Coach Mike Dichov said. "They knew they had the ability to do it all along. And it came against tough competition and in tough conditions. That's what made it so sweet."
Alafoginis was one of only five players to break par for the championship, and his fifth-place individual finish was an improvement from his freshman (tie for 13th place) and sophomore (ninth place) seasons.
While his teammates had a chance to play a practice round the day prior, Alafoginis did not. He was playing in a junior tournament in New Jersey but got scouting reports on Clustered Spires from his Bulldogs teammates.
"They told me it was a pretty straight course and not too tight. I went out [on the course] with confidence," he said. "As a team, we were just really, really solid. I guess [this year] it was just meant to be. We were ready."
A Crown for Glenelg Country
Glenelg Country sophomore Elie Atkins scored on a penalty stroke with 10 minutes 15 seconds left in the first half to help the Dragons to a 2-0 victory over Seton Keough in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference field hockey final at the McDonogh School in Reisterstown. Senior Katie Bauer added a goal midway through the second half as the Dragons (12-4-2) cruised to their third straight conference title.
Staff writer Todd Jacobson contributed to this report.