The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Hawks golf team have begun their run at what they hope will land them another trip back to the NJCAA DII National Championship. Sophomores Mark Burgess, William Garrett, and Tyler Potts return to lead this year’s squad with Garrett and Potts serving as co-captains. Westlake High School graduate and CSM Freshman Jordan Lofton, of Waldorf, is a new addition to the team.
Head Coach David Russell said the expectation for this year’s team is to repeat their impressive performance from last year.
“We have a strong team so I expect them to put in the work that it takes,” said Russell. However, he added that he doesn’t want his golfers to assume they will automatically make it back to the national championship just because they were able to last year.
“Just because we won everything last year, that was last year,” Russell said. “We don’t know what the other teams have until we play them. In golf you just have to take it one shot at a time and not look forward. They have to really stay in the moment and attack each shot.”
Russell said he understands it will take a step-by-step process to reach the national championship for the second year in a row.
“The first goal is to win our conference, second goal is to win the regionals and qualify for nationals, and at nationals this year I’d like to make the cut,” Russell said.
Last year, Garrett was the only Hawk to make the cut and play all four days at the national championship. Out of 90 golfers who played all four rounds, he finished 63rd at a 20-over 308.
Russell said he anticipates that this team has what it takes to make it back to the national championship, in part because of one of the biggest growths he’s seen in his team this year is “the chemistry and the camaraderie.”
“We started off last season, maybe guys didn’t know each other but at the end they came together and pushed each other and realized ‘Hey let’s do this as a team, let’s make it to nationals,'” he explained, adding that he wants the relationships his golfers have formed with each other to last long after their academic careers at CSM are over.
“Golf and life are very parallel in many aspects and at the end of the day it is just golf, but I think these guys will look back on this experience as life-learning lessons,” Russell said. “Not just golf but the camaraderie and the steps you make to get through college, they’re a stepping stone toward life. I look for these guys to grow as men through experiences on and off the golf course, and to be a part of that, I take pride in that.”
For information on CSM’s men’s golf, visit http://athletics.csmd.edu/sports/mgolf/index.