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Foursome of young players keeping Canterbury on top


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 10, 2000

Canterbury is trying to prove that last year's Class A, District 9 championship, the first in school history, was no fluke. So far, the Crusaders are doing a good job.

Heading into this week, the second-to-last week of the regular season, Canterbury is 6-1 with its only blemish coming against Dunedin. Despite the loss of No. 1 player Kyle McCarthy, who now plays No. 2 at Eckerd College, the Crusaders have enough depth and talent to continue their winning ways.

The Crusaders appear to be one of the favorites to repeat as district champions. The district tournament is Oct. 23 at Innisbrook.

"Our guys are chomping at the bit," Canterbury coach Vaughn McCarthy said. "We've had some matches rained out early this season so they haven't played as much as they wanted. I know they're frustrated. But they're looking forward to the districts and doing well again."

The reason for Canterbury's continued success is the play of its top four golfers. Junior Ryan Natchit and sophomores Carson Crooms, Winston Ball and Ryan Winston are all capable of shooting in the high 30s for nine holes.

Those four helped Canterbury secure its district championship in 1999 and its first ever appearance in the state tournament. They have picked up right where they left off.

"They've played very well," McCarthy said. "Any one of them can shoot a low number. We've been kind of messing around trying to find a No. 5 and 6. If we can do that we'll be solid."

Canterbury will find out just where it stands in the weeks leading up to the districts. It has six tournaments prior to Oct. 23.

FALCONS FLYING HIGH: If teams in Class A, District 10 don't already know it, Dunedin is a team to watch. The Falcons are 21-4 through Monday and have defeated all of their district opponents.

The reason for Dunedin's success is depth. It has six players capable of breaking 40, and all six average under 42 strokes for nine holes.

Pat Scranton leads the way with a 38.75 average for nine holes. Robby Walters averages 40.5, then the trio of Robert Chapman, Thomas Riedel and Jesse Yanick all average just over 41. Doug Seger isn't far behind.

"All of them can shoot in the 30s," Dunedin coach Dean Johnson said. "The problem is they don't always do it on the same day."

With the new district format of the top four district teams advancing to the regional tournament, Dunedin will almost assuredly advance past districts. But the Falcons' goal is to not just advance, but to win the districts. That would mean beating formidable teams like Tarpon Springs, Canterbury and Clearwater Central Catholic.

"That's our hope," Johnson said. "I think we can win it."

PREDICTION: It's never wise to make a prediction, especially this far away from the district tournament, but here goes: Clearwater Central Catholic's girls golf team will win the district tournament and advance to regionals.

CCC is the only school in the 14-team district that will field a girls team.

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