The fate of the most dominant high school golf team in Maryland history rested in the hands of Stefan Lapcevich, a player whose score had been kept just twice all season and who just two years ago had been cut from the team. He made the starting lineup for the county tournament in a sudden-death qualifier.
Yet there stood Lapcevich, with his Urbana teammates watching from just beyond the 18th green, staring down a one-foot putt that he would bury for a career-low 75 to give his Hawks their fifth straight county championship.
“That’s nice,” Urbana coach Frank Ferrari said. “That is a great way to end a career.”
The Hawks’ had a slightly more turbulent flight this year than their dominant victory at last fall’s county championship in which they shot a tournament record 284 and won without much of a challenge. They would edge Middletown by five on Thursday, but for the better part of the tournament the putts were rolling the Knights’ way.
Freshman Jake Darr canned four birdies en route to a front nine 32 while Erik Williams, who struggled mightily at the 1A/2A district tournament, appeared to find his swing again, putting together an even-par opening nine. Darr, the district champion for the smaller schools, would finish with the county title with a 2-under 70. Williams shot a 73. Senior Phil Addington ran in a long birdie on the 18th to recover from a tumultuous 8-over-par front nine to card a 79. When Urbana and Middletown’s top three men entered the clubhouse, the Knights held a four-shot advantage.
“Middletown pushed us a little bit when we were at their place and we knew that today and we didn’t really talk about that but I’m sure it was in the back of everybody’s mind,” Ferrari said. “And we knew Middletown would be the team to beat and Middletown’s always good.”
But Urbana senior Riley Tyeryar erased the deficit and added a two-shot cushion for Lapcevich after posting a 76 to edge the Knights’ Zach Main by six shots. And then it was Lapcevich, who simply had to hold on for one more hole to squander Middletown’s comeback bid, which he did quite convincingly.
“It was really big,” Lapcevich said of his new career best. “To come in with 75 and be second lowest round on the team was pretty good.”
He didn’t make it easy on himself. Lapcevich followed an impressive front-nine 37 with a triple bogey on the very playable par-5 10th hole and proceeded to “hack it all over the place” for another bogey. But he rallied for back-to-back birdies and managed to put together a string of pars.
Urbana’s co-low medalist, Jon Moles, didn’t exactly make it simple either. He did have the misfortune of playing with Darr.
“It was difficult playing with Jake when he came around with a 32 but I knew as long as I kept playing my game maybe he would fold,” Moles said. “But I had three, three-putts from within 5 feet which is very unlike me. So that kind of got in my head a little bit.”
Moles wouldn’t catch Darr, but his 74 proved to be enough for the Hawks’ low score along with Ryan Woodward.
Urbana freshman Madison Lewis added to the slew of titles for the Ijamsville school, edging Walkersville’s Sam Hundak by one shot for the girls individual title.
“I’m proud of Madison, a freshman, to come out here and shoot 90,” Ferrari said. “She’s got all the tools, she has a lot of talent, she’s just trying to put it all together. We’re fortunate.”
Frederick County golf championship results
Urbana (299): Jon Moles 74; Ryan Woodward 74; Stefan Lapcevich, 75; Riley Tyeryar 76.
Middletown (305): Jake Darr 70; Erik Williams 73; Phil Addington 79; Zach Main 82; Shane Cleverly 82.
Tuscarora (321): Josh McDaniel 76; Bailey McAuliffe 79; Nick MacDougal 83; Matthew Misfud 83.
Gov. Thomas Johnson (331): Joey DiFrancesco 78; Jack Magerowski 78; Blair Plombon 87; Evan Carmack 88.
Oakdale (331): Brian James 79; Alex Moir 81; Tyler Craney 85; Chris Stumpfig 86.
Walkersville (336): Mitch Miller 75; Nick Kotchenreuther 84; Adam Marshall 85; Mario Miller 92.
Frederick (340): Harrison Draer 84; Rory Conklin 84; Patrick Caccese 86; Matt Christiensen 86.
Linganore (348): Ryan Gilmartian 78; Andrew Blockinger 88; Liam Vank 90; Brent Wilkerson 92.