Sports

FCHS Golf Earns Team’s 1st National District Title

After coming so close last year, the Falls Church High School (FCHS) varsity golf team finally captured the coveted National District title on Sept. 23.

The win marked the first time the high school won the annual golf tournament.

Sophomore Tyler Satorius led the team and the tournament, while senior Captain Scott Slocum continued his impressive season with a third place finish overall.

“I’m real proud of the guys and what they’ve accomplished,” said team Coach Mike Power.

While their regular season record was marked by more challenges this year than last year’s perfect season, Power believes that the adversity empowered his golfers and led to their eventual win at Greendale Golf Course for the district championship.

“They were more prepared for the tournament this year,” he said. “They played smarter golf for two days.”

According to Power, his players knew Greendale well. When it was time to make a decision, they planned their attack conservatively.

At times they hit off the tee with a three wood to safe landing areas where they could rely on an eight iron to finish the job.

After a perfect regular season, many teams might not want to adjust their game plan. But when the Jaguars defeated all of their regular season opponents in 2008 and placed second to Yorktown High School in the final tournament, Power decided to meet with his top four golfers in order to complete a championship run in 2009.

With all four of his strongest players returning for the next season, Power had crucial resources at his disposal.

“They made a conscious choice to work at golf in the offseason a little bit more than they had been,” Power said.

Each player used the same swing coach in the offseason, benefitted from the same lessons, and played together as a team on their own time.

Satorious and Slocum even entered junior tournaments together over the summer “just to keep everything well-oiled and ready to go,” Power said.

Their season began the same as the last, with a pair of early victories.

But on Aug. 25 they lost in regular season play for the first time since 2007 to Hayfield Secondary.

Power called that loss a turning point in the season. “It made everyone realize that nothing will be easy, you have to stay focused all year. And I think that really did help us.”

From that loss they continued with a string of wins until they tied Yorktown just before the National District Tournament.

By the time the team set foot at Greendale, none of the Falls Church golfers took their opposition for granted.

After the tournament, Power said the team played with an awareness of their limitations.

“Although they could have hit a ball farther, or maybe gone for a green farther down the fairway, they weren’t trying to go for greens in less than regulation,” he said.

After leading for two days in the tournament the Jaguars earned their first title by hitting a combined 643, which effectively reversed last year’s decision as Yorktown finished second.

All of Power’s top golfers have been with the program since their freshman year and have made significant improvements over the years, Power said.

Falls Church is the smallest school in the National District, but Power did not associate his team’s championship win with any underdog story.

While the larger schools may have a wider pool of students to choose from, he said, years of experience proved to be the largest asset for the Jaguars.

Falls Church joins other top teams in the area for the Fairfax County Regional Tournament on Oct. 6.

The four winners and runner-up finishers from the district tournaments, in addition to the top five golfers in each district that were not part of the winning teams, will compete for the regional title.

Power called the course at the Fairfax National Golf Club older, longer, and more grown in than Greendale.

“As far as preparing for it, we’re practicing as many times as we can within the school week, and then the weekend when they get a chance.”

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